A STATEMENT attributed to the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, posted on both Facebook and Twitter, was misquoted and misleading.
A Facebook page “Dailymail gist” had as at 03:46 pm on February 8, 2019, posted a quote: “‘Those who interfere in the electoral process or incite violence must be held to account. INEC must resist external pressure and intimidation’ —MICHAEL POMPEO, US Secretary of State” with the following headline: EXPLOSIVE: BUHARI’S GOVERNMENT GETS SECOND STERN WARNING UNDER 24HRS FROM USA.
Similarly, a Twitter user: @NkirukaNistoran had also tweeted the same quotation with the same headline as at 7:10 pm of the same day.
As of 11:00 pm, February 11, the Facebook post had been shared 214 times and garnered 21 comments with 106 reactions. The page had 75,334 followers.
Also, the Tweet had been retweeted 189 times and garnered 53 likes with 2 comments as of 11:00 pm, February 11, 2019. The Twitter user had over 16,800 followers.
CrossCheck Nigeria found that the first sentence in the quotation was real and factual while the second sentence was mutilated and misquoted. The statement wasn’t directed at Buhari’s government but INEC and security agencies.
CrossCheck Nigeria investigation demonstrates that the headline was also misleading. Using Google search, we found that the original statement that emanated from the US Secretary of State as published on the US Department of State website on February 7, 2019, and the website of the US Embassy in Nigeria on February 8, 2019, has as headlines: “Upcoming Nigerian Elections” and “Statement by U.S. Secretary of State on the Upcoming Nigerian Elections”, respectively.
CCN also concludes that Pompeo wasn’t directing the statement to anyone in particular, but the INEC and Nigerian security agents.