Back to Africa Check

Manipulated photo of Biafra organisation’s leader in European parliament

A photo posted on Facebook on 11 September 2019 appears to show Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob), addressing the European Union parliament in Brussels, Belgium.

Biafra is a disputed region in southeast Nigeria. Ipob is an organisation calling for its independence.

The caption says Kanu had “stormed the EU parliament” with “cogent documents” and “CCT videos” that showed the Nigerian army had killed, tortured and illegally detained Ipob members, and looted “the Palace of King Isreal Kanu”.

Some Facebook users called the photo a fake. It has indeed been doctored.

EU parliament photo from January 2008

A Google reverse image search reveals the original photo has been circulating online for at least 11 years.

It was used in a 14 January 2008 report by the EU Observer.

In the original, the man standing at the podium in the EU parliament is not Kanu. The photo has been manipulated by inserting Kanu’s image.

But Kanu did visit EU parliament

Multiple photos and videos do show that the Ipob leader visited Brussels on 10 September 2019, where he reportedly made a presentation to some members of the European parliament.

Kanu tweeted about the event five days before, on 5 September: “I’m glad to accept the invitation of a few MEPs to address the burning issue of IPOB agitation and what a NEW BIAFRA means for Africa. I look forward to leading IPOB in Europe to the historic encounter.”

He also included details of where the meeting would take place.

After the visit, he thanked a British member of the European parliament, Sebastian Dance, and others for making the visit memorable.

In February 2019, Kanu and his team met with another British MEP, Julie Wards. In 2016 she called on the Nigerian government to release Kanu from detention and end violence against Ipob members.

Photos and videos of the visit in September 2019 show that Kanu wore a black skull cap, black suit and a lilac tie. But in the doctored photo, his tie appears black. – Allwell Okpi


Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

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

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

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.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.