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FACT CHECK: Melaye lied, these are not Bello’s fake ‘soldiaers’


Senator Dino Melaye on November 15 posted a picture of four Nigerian soldiers holding up four fingers in each of their hands.

The sign was made popular by the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari during the presentation of the 2019 budget to the National Assembly at the end of 2018.

Buhari was seeking reelection then for another four-year term and the symbol was quickly adopted by his party, campaign team and supporters.

Four Nigerian soldiers were among those who held up the sign in the days leading up to the election in February. The picture of the soldiers drew the ire of many Nigerians who felt they should be apolitical and hold allegiance to Nigeria and not the president.

The Nigerian Army said it was aware of what the soldiers did but “dissociate itself from the picture of the four armed men dressed in military camouflage doing a 4-by-4 fingers sign connoting a campaign symbol of a political party.”

On November 15, Senator Dino Melaye posted the same picture to his Twitter handle with claims the soldiers were supporters of Bello.

“Bello’s fake soldiaers (sic),” he said in the caption accompanying the picture.

Bello, a member of the APC and an ally of Buhari, has used the 4+4 sign at his campaign on many occasions.

But the soldiers, whose pictures Melaye posted, were clearly not his supporters. A reverse image search showed that the picture was used by a number of publications including, BBC Pidgin, Channels and Daily Post in February.

It went viral before then.

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