Fact-Check (1): Did London Police Arrest Osinbajo’s Relations, Nigerian Student over Money Laundering?
Claim: A post widely circulated on social media claimed that the London Metropolitan Police has found the sum of $8.5m in the residence of a Nigerian student in London and that a daughter of the Vice President of Nigeria Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was arrested in the street of the UK with huge money in her car.
Full-text: the video watermarked, “the Nigerian Vice President Daughter got Arrested in UK[sic]” has generated over 5000 likes, 1,000 comments, 7,000 shares, and 200,000 views within 24 hours.
The accompanying text reads: “Breaking News Nigeria Vice President Daughter Was Caught with Huge Amount of Dollars And was Arrested in UK 🇬🇧 watch to the end [sic].”
Reacting, a facebook user John Odey wrote, “And they’re still telling Nigerians that APC are not corrupt, what’s her occupation that have fetched her that wealth [sic].”
Another user Duru Ethelbert wrote, “This people have killing this country Nigeria we need to chase atiku and tinubu out of this country they have distroy Nigeria, election is between light and darkness, Nigerias please see the light this criminal have seeing commoners finish let’s vote them out and regain our respect, regards, destiny and future from the hand of darkness of PDP and apc [sic].”
Verification: results of checks by PRNigeria revealed that Nigerian blogs Nairaland and Naijaloaded reported a similar story in 2018 claiming that a Nigerian student was arrested with huge amount of US Dollars in an apartment in London.
The reports state that: “Unbelievable! The Bailiffs in London stormed a Nigerian house which owes some money only to discover $8.5 million stacked away in a cabinet,” the blogs published.
A man said to be the owner of the apartment where the money was found was heard in the footage speaking in Yoruba.
Reports by the blogs translated his phone call in Yoruba, “mi o ti wole” and translated as “I’m in a mess.” However, PRNigeria observed that the real translation of “mi o ti wole” is “I am yet to enter.”
Another local media organisation IgebreTvNews, also reported same in 2018 claiming.that the suspect was identified to be the brother of one Samuel Osinbajo who lives in Victoria Island of Lagos state.
Original Story in 2014
Meanwhile, PRNIgeria observed that BBC News and DailyMail were the first to have reported the incidence of the discovery in June 2014, not in 2018 or recently as being widely circulated.
The DailyMail’s report disclosed that, “A television crew recording a documentary about bailiffs were stunned to find £5 million stashed in a wooden box hidden in a flat.
“$8.5million, the equivalent of about £5million, was found by the crew stuffed in a wooden box hidden in the apartment in Silvertown, east London.”
The report further indicated that a 29-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of money laundering.
He had since been released on bail until mid-August, the report concluded.
Furthermore, to verify the status of the DailyMail report involving the Nigerian student, PRNigeria reached out to the London Metropolitan Police seeking an update on the fate of the case and the identity of the suspect since April 2014, about eight years ago when it was reported.
The Metro police are yet to respond as of the time of publishing this fact-check.
Conclusion: PRNigeria’s investigation reveals that the report in question first surfaced in the media in 2014 even before the current administration. The report since then have been reported with different mischievous slants on blogs by content creators with various claims especially in 2018 and now (November 2022) after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced the redesign of naira notes.
Therefore PRNigeria concludes that the claim that the daughter of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was arrested this week with a huge amount of money in the UK is UNSUBTANTIATED and largely FALSE.
However, claims that a Nigerian student identified to be a brother of one Samuel Osinbajo remains UNVERIFIED.
Feedback from the London Metropolitan Police seeking an update and identity of the Nigerian involved in the 2014 report will be communicated in the second part of this fact-check.