© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
FAKE NEWS ALERT: Video of supposed Imo Airport fire victims is misleading
THE video of badly burnt persons being circulated on social media, particularly Whatsapp, purporting to be victims of the fire incident that occurred at the Sam Mbakwe Airport in Owerri, Imo State, on Monday, is fake.
The very graphic video, which has also been published on several blogsites, showed some badly burnt people coming out of a bus, apparently entering a hospital, as bystanders wail on seeing how badly injured they were.
But checks by The ICIR showed that the video was not in any way connected to the Imo Airport incident.
Using the Youtube data viewer, a video verification online tool developed by the US branch of Amnesty International, The ICIR was able to determine that the said video was first uploaded to Youtube by one Olatubosun Oladayo on September 25, 2018, with the title, “Burnt survivors of a ghastly accident” and with a warning, “very graphic”.
It has been viewed 674 times since when it was uploaded and has one ‘like’.
Also, the General Manager of FAAN’s Corporate Affairs, Henrietta Yakubu, had issued a statement calling out the fake news and reiterating that there were no casualties in the fire incident at the Owerri Airport on Monday.
She stated: “The attention of FAAN has been drawn to a false and malicious video presently trending online to the effect that there were casualties in the unfortunate fire incident that occurred at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri.
“The Authority will like to state unequivocally that there was no casualty, as the fire was swiftly curtailed by officers of our Aerodrome Rescue and Fire Fighting Services.
While explaining that the fake video in circulation was that of the victims of a petrol tanker fire some time ago, Yakubu warned the people “spreading this falsehood to desist from such acts in their own interest.”
Similarly, responding to an enquiry by The ICIR, an Imo citizen who gave his name simply as Chinedu, confirmed that there were no casualties in the fire incident.
“Nobody sustained any injury. Because my dad’s friend was at the airport on that day and with me as I type this. He rescheduled his flight but there was no injury, according to him,” Chinedu said.