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Fact-check: Viral photo of ‘bloody’ attack on Lagos assembly ‘candidate’ was from a movie set

By Dennis Erezi
18 March 2023   |   12:08 pm
A photograph of a Labour Party 'candidate' contesting the Lagos State House of Assembly went viral this week, with captions suggesting that he was attacked by thugs sponsored by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Many Twitter users posted a photograph of Olumide Oworu with what looks like cuts and blood stains on his face…

A viral photo used as proof of attack on Olumide Oworu, Labour party house of assembly ‘candidate’ in Lagos State, was stamped as misleading after a digital investigation.

A photograph of a Labour Party ‘candidate’ contesting the Lagos State House of Assembly went viral this week, with captions suggesting that he was attacked by thugs sponsored by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Many Twitter users posted a photograph of Olumide Oworu with what looks like cuts and blood stains on his face and white shirt.

Nigerians will go to the polls for the second time in three weeks to elect governors and members of states’ houses of assembly on Saturday, March 18. Candidates and their political parties rounded up their campaigns to convince eligible voters to get elected on Thursday.

READ ALSO: Fact-check: Did America-based award-winning professor embarrass Nigeria’s president-elect?

Oworu claims he is contesting for a seat in the Lagos State House of Assembly to represent Surulere Constituency I and potentially unseat the current holder of the seat Desmond Elliot, a popular actor and member of the ruling APC.

Checks by The Guardian revealed that his name is not listed among the candidates contesting the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The Labour Party candidate on the list is Adebayo Bode.

INEC has done seven amendments to the list of candidates for the assembly election to reflect court orders due to disputes from party primary elections and deaths. Oworu did not feature in any of the final list and the seven amendments made.

Thug attack
Oworu tweeted that he and his team were attacked during a campaign in Surulere. He said one person was injured from the reported attack that had been reported at a police station.

A Twitter user @Blossommartins tweeted a now-viral photograph allegedly from the attack with the caption “see what they did to Tari” and alleged that the wounds in the image were inflicted by “thugs Tinubu and Sanwolu breeds in Lagos”. The tweet is archived here.

Tari is the name of a character Oworu plays in the popular sitcom ‘The Johnsons’.

Elliot condemned and dissociated himself from the attack.

“Mr Elliot is peaceful and law abiding and has enjoined his teeming supporters to remain law abiding,” his media office said in a statement on March 17, 2023.

However, checks by The Guardian reveal that the viral picture of Oworu did not emanate from the reported attack.

Evidence
The viral photograph, according to results of Google reverse image, was first published on the internet in 2022 by Oworu himself.

Oworu posted the photo on his Instagram page on Monday, October 3, 2022. The caption “Alagbado John Wick #OnTheEdge” and an icon to accompany the picture show it was from a movie set.

The same photo, along with others, was posted here by an Instagram page called “carinasfx” that Oworu tagged in his post.

“Stages of eye swelling,” the page said in its caption.

Oworu and the page show that the photo was taken on a movie set.

A screenshot of the viral photo on Olumide Oworu’s Instagram page

Oworu has, however, deleted the photo after it went viral. But it is still live on carinasfx’s page.

Lagos State police spokesman Benjamin Hundeyin has not responded to an inquiry to authenticate claims of an attack on Oworu at the time of filing this report.

Verdict
The viral photo of Oworu stained in blood being tagged as proof of an attack on him is an old photograph from a movie set.

The claims that Oworu was violently attacked because of a viral photograph are misleading.