FACT-CHECK: Picture Of Boy Who Committed Suicide Unrelated To 2023 Elections

In Breaking News, Fact-Check, National News, Politics

By Ogar Monday

Claim: A Twitter user alleged that a 19-year-old boy committed suicide by hanging due to Peter Obi losing the presidential election to Bola Tinubu.

Verdict: False. The image had been available on the internet since before the elections.

Screenshot of the tweet with the alleged picture

Full Text

A suicide photo of a young man has surfaced on social media with a rather tragic narrative. Peter obi’s Kidney (@Dalapflourish) tweeted the picture alleging that the boy committed suicide because Peter Obi lost the just concluded 2023 presidential polls to Bola Tinubu.

The Twitter user, implicitly eulogised the death of the alleged boy, citing the reason for the demise of Nigeria’s future hopelessness as Mr. Obi lost the election. 

“SAD NEWS” she tweeted, “I will tell God INEC killed me. A young boy from Plateau state commits suicide and dies after Obi loses a rigged election. The 19-year-old boy left a short note behind which reads – no hope for Nigeria for the next 20 years after Obi lost the election.” 

The tweet generated diverse opinions on the platform. For instance, (@Mrbalance13), who believes the claim valid, expressed sadness over the scenario. “Sad news,” he wrote. Another Twitter user, Bernard Clifford Asoka (@AsikaClifford), replied, “Lord have mercy.”

Some people, however, referred to the information as false. Samsonyte (@ogbebor_samson) was one of them. He said, “this is not true, please.” 

As of this report’s filing, the tweet has been viewed 8,947 times and garnered 70 likes, 58 retweets, and ten quote retweets. 

The sensitivity of the claim and its potential to go viral and mislead people is why DUBAWA is fact-checking it to set the records straight. 

Verification

CrossRiverWatch first ran a Google reverse image search on the alleged image to discover where else it has appeared online and with what narrative. The results from the search traced the earliest appearance of the image back to 2016.

An online blog, Talk Glitz Media, on December 26, 2016, ran a story with the alleged picture alongside the headline “Yahoo Boy Commits Suicide In Warri.” Another platform, Urhobo Today, on December 26, 2016, ran a similar story with the headline “Yahoo, Yahoo Boy Commits Suicide In Warri” with the same picture.

While CrossRiverWatch cannot ascertain the veracity and truth in the report these blogs share, it has been established that the image has been available online since 2016.

The Plateau State (the alleged location) Police department had also debunked the news of anyone committing suicide related to the presidential elections. DSP Alabi Alfred, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, told journalists that the claim is false and unfounded and capable of inciting violence within the state.

Mr. Alfred added that all divisional headquarters within the state had been contacted, and all confirmed that there was no such occurrence. 

“To ascertain the post’s veracity, the command contacted all its divisional headquarters in the state, but no case of such nature was reported to any police area command/divisional headquarters, outpost or formation in the state,” the PPRO confirmed.

Conclusion:

The claim is false. The image has been available since 2016. The Police Command in Plateau State, where the incident allegedly happened, has debunked the claim.

The researcher produced this explainer per the DUBAWA 2023 Kwame KariKari Fellowship, in partnership with CrossRiverWatch, to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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