Back to Africa Check

Old photo used to illustrate snake incident at Nigeria’s Ondo state parliament

A story of a snake falling from the ceiling at the house of assembly in Ondo state in southwestern Nigeria broke on the internet on 25 July 2019. 

It was reported by the News Agency of Nigeria, the country’s major government-owned newswire, and was published by a number of news outlets, including leading national newspapers

Some versions of the story shared on Facebook include photos showing the broken ceiling of the assembly, including one of a giant snake hanging from the ceiling.

Photo of giant snake from Hong Kong

A Google reverse image search shows this photo has been used before, in reports of a giant snake dropping from the ceiling in a busy restaurant. 

Most of the reports, published in November 2016, did not state the location of the restaurant. However, a report published by Amar Ujala, an Indian newspaper, which was last updated on 26 December 2016, said the incident occurred in a Hong Kong restaurant

Contradictory reports from Ondo state

Some of the reports from the house of assembly in Ondo quote eye-witnesses who say they saw the snake, but others say the story was made up

A video released after the state governor Rotimi Akeredolu visited the assembly on 26 July 2019 shows Akeredolu and members of the house of assembly debunking the reports of a snake dropping from the roof. 

But in a communique published on 31 July 2019 members claimed the video was doctored and confirmed that a snake did fall from the ceiling and disrupted their meeting.

Africa Check cannot verify these claims. But we can state that the photo of a giant snake circulating with the story was taken years ago, and not in Nigeria. – 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.