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Photo of newborn found in a university toilet used in viral religious hoax

A September 2017 Facebook post claims that somewhere in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, a newborn baby died after warning of the second coming of Jesus Christ. It has been shared over 242,000 times and attracted more than 200,000 comments.

The post shows a photo of a woman carrying a baby partly covered with a cloth, surrounded by a crowd of people, mostly younger women.

It reads: “Brothers and sisters the picture you see here is a newborn baby that was given birth to in one of the general hospitals somewhere around Abuja, whom at point of birth has his hands glued together and the doctors tried they did surgery and opened the hands but with biggest shock of their lives they found in his hands it was written boldly JESUS IS COMING SOON. And immediately the baby gave up….”

The post claims the baby was revived after prayers, and then spoke, saying “Jesus is coming sooner than you expected” and promising “calamity for those that will not spread this news”. The baby, it says, then died.

The post ends with: “Share this picture and text to as many contacts that are on your Whatapps, Instagram, messenger and rest of them.”



Photo from University of Maiduguri


But a Google reverse image search shows the photo has been published several times on the internet.

Its earliest appearance was in media reports about a newborn baby found dead in a toilet of a female hostel at the University of Maiduguri in Borno state in northeastern Nigeria.

An article on TheNewsxtra shows the photo and many more of the incident, after the baby was found. (Note: The photos are graphic and may be upsetting.)

The story and photos were also published by leading newspapers Punch and Premium Times on 25 May 2017. – Allwell Okpi (06/05/19)

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

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Africa Check teams up with Facebook

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The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

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