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FACT-CHECK: Did soldiers in uniform join Obi-dient rally in Lagos?

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CLAIM: A viral post on Facebook claimed that some military men in their uniforms joined the October 1st rally for the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi, in Lagos.
VERDICT: False
FULL TEXT
The claim is contained in a post on a Facebook Page, ‘Datti Ahmed Fan Page’. The post, which has over 350 likes and multiple shares read:
“Breaking News: 5 Military officers, resigned, dropped their uniform at Obident rally and joined the rally in Lagos.
The 5 military officers that were sent to stop the rally ending up joining the movement on sighting the people and hearing the preaching of hopes.”
A purported picture of the soldiers was attached.
Supporters of the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, who have christened themselves ‘Obi-dient’, had a march on October 1st in Lagos, presumably to show the popularity of their candidate.
Even though the Labour Party is not considered a formidable match against the two major political parties, the Obi-dient movement is gaining momentum, and it has established the LP candidate as a major contender for the country’s highest political seat.
Obi’s zealous supporters have held peaceful rallies in major cities across the country. Meanwhile, the Lagos rally was held on October 1st, despite attempts by the Lagos State government to stop it, through a suit at the Federal High Court in Akeja.
VERIFICATION
Ripples Nigeria found the claim that five soldiers joined the rally to be false.
Through a Google Reverse Image Search, it was discovered that the picture of soldiers attached to the post was not from the rally. The earliest version of the picture was found in a news report on Vanguard Newspaper, with the headline: “I was declared insane for exercising my rights — Army Officer”
The report contains an interview with a Major who accused his superiors at the Nigerian Army of torturing him over a protest letter he wrote.
The major whose name was withheld reportedly claimed that he had complained of unfair treatment in a protest letter, but rather than address his complaints, a superior officer declared him ‘insane’ and ordered his arrest.
The picture was captioned: “Scene of the army officer’s arrest.”
It is also impossible that five soldiers would be sent to stop a rally of over a million youths.
CONCLUSION
The picture attached to the post as evidence was not from the rally. Therefore, the claim is false.
By Oluwatobi Odeyinka.

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