Days after the announcement of the military takeover in Niger, the news is rife on social media that the coup leaders have given the country’s finance minister a 48-hour ultimatum to account for supposed stolen monies belonging to the state.
The Minister of Finance in Niger Republic has been given 48 hours by the Coup plotters to account for all the monies stolen from the people or face death by firing squad
Africa is AWAKENING?? pic.twitter.com/zDlsHZuv4I
— CitizenKofi (@amoah_citizen) July 28, 2023
Minister of finance in Niger Republic given 48hrs by the coup plotters to account for the stolen money of Niger people or face execution by firing squad.
We're back to square one! pic.twitter.com/V4MiEkdk49
— Olaudah Equiano® (@RealOlaudah) July 28, 2023
The claim which has been shared on various social media platforms has been accompanied by the video of a man crying uncontrollably behind a microphone. The accounts spreading the claims suggest the man sobbing is the finance minister of the ousted democratic government of Niger.
Fact-Check Ghana has verified the viral claim and concludes that it is false.
To verify the claim, the team combined both internet searches and interviews with journalists in Niger on the widely-spreading claims.
No evidence to support military government’s ultimatum to the finance minister
The Conseil National pour la Sauvegarde de la Patrie (CNSP), the military group that has taken over power in Niger, had an official closed-door meeting with the Secretaries General or Heads of the various government ministries on Friday, July 28, 2023. It was the first meeting of the group since they took over power on July 26.
After the meeting which is reported to have lasted about 2 hours 30 minutes, Brigadier General Mohammed Toumba, a member of the CNSP, briefed the media stating that the military government has asked the Secretary Generals to continue working to ensure day-to-day administrative management of the country.
“We had time to go through all the pending issues so that the normal functioning of the administration could be ensured. A message has been sent, people have to come back to work,” Brigadier General Mohammed Toumba was quoted by the Le Sahel.
There have been no media reports or records supporting the claim that the CNSP has ordered the finance minister to account for some purported stolen monies. The journalists Fact-Check Ghana spoke with also said the claims are false, adding that there has not been any prior communication from the CNSP, aside from the official release announcing their takeover.
Who’s the man in the viral video and why is he crying?
Checks from Fact-Check Ghana revealed that the viral video is a 2021 footage of the Former Minister of Justice of Niger, Marou Amadou. He served as justice minister for a decade, beginning in April 2011 when he was appointed by President Mahamadou Issoufou. He left office in April 2021.
Months after leaving office, Marou Amadou set up his own research outlet called Centre for Research on Climate in Africa and Human Security (CERCASH). On December 27, 2021, Marou Amadou launched CERCASH at the first Niamey International Conference on Climate in Africa on Human Security. While speaking at the launch, he was overwhelmed by emotions that brought him to tears when he mentioned the name of former President, Mahamadou Issoufou. Mr Amadou claimed President Issoufou has helped him, tremendously.
On December 28, 2021, a day after the launch of CERCASH, a Nigerien humour and news Facebook page posted the video of Marou Amadou crying with the caption: “Marou Amadou, is it a tribute to the former president that makes you cry?”