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Popular Nollywood actor John Okafor alive, contrary to social media claims

IN SHORT: In October 2023, Nigerian actor John Okafor appealed for financial support because of illness. Despite several posts claiming he was dead, Okafor's family has confirmed he is alive and recovering from multiple surgeries.

A post published on Facebook in Nigeria, which has been circulating since October 2023, claims that Nollywood actor John Okafor, popularly known as “Mr Ibu”, is dead. 

It reads: “Hello everyone am here to let you know that JOHN OKAFOR POPULAR KNW AS MR IBU JUST LOST HIS LIFE FEW MINUTES AGO”. 

The claim also appeared on social media here and here. A number of users sent their condolences. 

Okafor is a famous actor and very popular for his comedic roles in movies. He has starred in many movies, including Mr Ibu (2004), Police Recruit (2003), Mr Ibu in London (2004), Ibu in Prison (2006) and Keziah (2007).

In October 2023, the veteran actor took to social media to announce that he was ill and at risk of having his leg amputated, and asked for financial support. 

But has Okafor died? We checked.


Statements from family and former manager say Okafor is alive

Given Okafor's popularity in Nigeria, news of his death would have made headlines if it were true. We have not found any news reports about his death.

On 6 November, the media reported that Okafor was alive, quoting a statement from his family.

The statement was published on his Instagram handle and said Okafor had undergone seven surgeries, including an amputation. It asked Nigerians to continue sending donations.

At time of publication, Okafor is recovering, contrary to claims on social media. On 9 November, his former manager gave further details about his illness and said he was “gradually healing”.

Africa Check has previously debunked false claims of the death of celebrities. Such hoaxes can cause fear and distrust on social media.

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