FACT CHECK: Did customs recruit repentant Boko Haram member as officer? – The Cable

You must have seen a viral video where an officer of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) was struggling to salute his superiors appropriately.

A viral post making the rounds on social media has claimed that the customs officer in the viral video is a “repentant Boko Haram member” who posed in a picture with Aminu Masari, governor of Katsina.

The post further claimed that the “repentant Boko Haram member” has been enlisted in the customs.

The post attempted to draw semblance between the customs officer in the viral video and “the bandit” who clutched an Ak-47 rifle beside Masari.


The post has been repeatedly shared on several Facebook groups and on WhatsApp. Versions of the post can be seen here,  here and here,

Also, a Twitter account with the name Simon Ekpa published the post on his Twitter handle which has over 40,000 followers. The post has garnered over 36 comments, 616 retweets and 447 likes.



To verify the claim, TheCable carried out a reverse image search of the original picture.

Buharin Daji with an AK-47 rifle

The earliest version of the “bandit” picture seen by TheCable was posted on January 21, 2017 on a Facebook page. The caption of the picture(s) was written in Hausa language. The translation of the post stated that Masari was receiving a leader of bandits identified as Buharin Daji, called “Buhari of the forest”. Different media reports confirmed the name of the AK-47-bearing bandit as Baharin Daji.

An online search to find out more details about Buharin Daji shows news items from credible media platforms saying he was killed in March 2018. News of the death was reported herehere and here.

According to the customs service, the officer in the viral video is a newly promoted deputy superintendent of customs who has been in the service of the agency since 2011.

In a statement, Joseph Attah, customs spokesperson, described the claim as a ridiculous comparison.

“It is therefore very unfortunate that those who are bent on presenting the country in a bad light could take a simple human error during decoration to ridicule his person and attempting to extend the same to the Service and the nation. This is obviously the handwork of unpatriotic elements that should be ignored,” Attah said.

“A good look at the pictures will clearly show that the Customs Officer is NOT the pictured bandit. NCS, therefore, urges all well-meaning Nigerians to ignore the ridiculous comparison and treat it as the work of those who do not wish the nation well.”


There is no sufficient evidence to back up the claim that customs recruited “a repentant Boko Haram member” as an officer. The claim that the bandit posing with Masari in a picture is the same person as the customs officer in a viral video is false.

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