Fact Check: Concocted Statement About Liberia’s George Weah Speaking on ECOWAS and Coup Flying Around
Niamey, Niger Republic – A post is gaining traction online claiming that Liberia’s president, George Weah, spoke on issues of coup and the planned military intervention by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Niger Republic.
The earliest version of the post was found on a blog, United States of Africa — on Thursday, August 3, 2023.
Fabricated quotes attributed to Weah
It comes amidst ECOWAS’ consideration of military action in the coup-hit West African nation. This, in their bid to help return President Mohamed Bazoum back to power and re-install democratic rule. Liberia is among the organization’s 15-member nation and the country has English as its official language.
The viral post reads:
“As long as ECOWAS tolerates institutional coups that allow lifetime presidencies, there will always be military coups.
“And we cannot condemn military coups when we do not condemn those who carry out institutional coups.
“Liberian President George Weah argued that the frequency of coups was somewhat linked to the disregard for constitutional term limits.
“Is it possible that there could be a correlation between these events and the political situations where constitutions are amended by incumbents to remove term limits through referendums? Or could this be a mere coincidence?” he posed to his peers.
“If the removal of term limits is serving as a trigger for the overthrow of constitutionally-elected governments, then perhaps we in Ecowas should exert our best efforts to ensure that the term limits in the constitutions of all member states should be respected”
“The President of Liberia”
The post has been reshared widely, and Weah’s name is currently a trending topic on the microblogging site, Twitter.
Legit.ng observed that many social media users sharing the claim on Twitter are supporters of Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), popularly called ‘Obidients’ — as seen here, here, and here.
The coup in the West African country of Niger has made headlines around the world, and it is making global leaders nervous.
We check the genuineness of the claim.
George Weah never said it; it’s fake quotes
Considering the interest generated by the Niger coup, such a statement from a prominent African leader would have been widely covered by the global media, but we found no such reports.
Legit.ng used search engines to examine the post, and could only spot it on questionable blogs. Whether in the year 2018, 2020, or 2023, we found no concrete evidence to show Weah said those words.
Those circulating the said statement made no credit to any credible media outfit.
Besides, the statement in the post is consistent with the language of opposition elements who are displeased with the outcome of the 2023 Nigerian presidential election. The poll, which produced Bola Tinubu as winner is being disputed.
For these simple reasons, our scrutiny rule the posts are fake.
Military intervention: NAF deploying to Sokoto near Niger-Nigerian border? Fact emerges
In a piece of related article, Legit.ng spotlighted a false claim. According to the claim, a footage showed Nigerian forces advancing towards Niger Republic. However, it has been found to be false.
In a now-deleted post, a Twitter page, @sentdefender, claimed a clip emerged showing the mobilisation of elements within the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) allegedly being deployed to Sokoto state. Sokoto is located in the extreme northwest of the country on the national border with the Republic of Niger.