Bandits Ordered Closure of All Churches in Nigeria? Fact Emerges

Bandits Ordered Closure of All Churches in Nigeria? Fact Emerges

  • Claims have appeared online saying bandits have sent a letter to the Zamfara state police, ordering churches in Nigeria to close down
  • reports that the posters claimed that the terrorists want to "take over their country"
  • Fact-checking platforms investigated the claim and shared their findings in recently published reports journalist Ridwan Adeola Yusuf has over 9 years of experience covering public journalism and security matters in Nigeria.

Gusau, Zamfara state - A Facebook post claims that armed groups known as 'bandits' are threatening to close all churches in Nigeria in a bid to take control of the country.

A screenshot with the photo of Ayuba Elkana, a Zamfara state commissioner of police, accompanied the post. Elkana appears to be addressing the media during a live broadcast. The logo of Africa Independent Television (AIT) can also be seen in the screengrab.

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Fact check: Bandits have not directed the closure of Nigerian churches
Worshippers sing and dance at the Anglican Church of Redemption, Diocese of Lagos West, Ibafo in Ogun State southwest Nigeria. Photo credit: Pius Utomi Ekpei
Source: Getty Images

The poorly-worded post, dated May 16 2024, reads:

“Bandits have sent threat letter asking all churches in Nigeria to close down, that they own Nigeria and they want to take over their country back (sic).
"Let’s be careful and security conscious please. The police warns.”

Bandits’ threat: Recycled video

Due to the sensitive nature of the post, a fact-checking platform, Africa Check, decided to investigate it.

Following its scrutiny, the media platform ruled that the video of the threat letter sent by bandits to churches is an old video that has been online since 2021.

In the same vein, another fact-checking platform, Dubawa, also investigated the claim and declared that the post was false.

More to read on banditry in Nigeria

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Residents flee communities as bandits abduct 110

Earlier, reported that four communities in Maru local government area (LGA) of Zamfara state: Mahuta, Mutumji, Kwana, and Unguwar Kawo, were abandoned following the abduction of 110 people by bandits.

The Zamfara residents were kidnapped for refusing to pay N110 million monthly levy to a notorious terrorist leader.

Reuters news agency stated that the bandits invaded the villages and carried out the abduction.


Ridwan Adeola avatar

Ridwan Adeola (Current Affairs Editor) Ridwan Adeola Yusuf is a Current Affairs Editor at and a certified journalist with over 9 years of experience. He edited Politics Nigeria's articles, was the Acting Editor of AllNews Nigeria and Fact-Checking Researcher (Africa Check). He received his HND in Mass Communication from The Polytechnic Ibadan. He received a Certificate of Achievement (Journalism Clinic’s Fix The Leak masterclass, 2021) and also completed Google News Initiative's Advance digital reporting curriculum. Contact him at