No, photo isn’t of Yorubas burning Igbo property in Nigeria – it’s a 2017 protest in South Africa

Two days after Nigeria’s presidential and national assembly elections on 23 February 2019, a Facebook user posted a photo of fires billowing smoke on a road barricaded with rocks.

“HAPPENING NOW!” he wrote.

“Yoruba people led by MC Oluomo are burning Igbos properties and barred Igbos not to open their shops now in Lagos… Make sure this go VIRAL!!!”

By 5 March the post had been shared over 5,700 times.

Protest in near Pretoria in South Africa

But a TinEye image search shows the photo was first uploaded to the internet at least two years ago. And a Google image search reveals it’s of violence in South Africa – not Nigeria.

According to a News24 report from 24 February 2017, the photo shows a protest in Atteridgeville near Pretoria, in South Africa’s Gauteng province. The photo is credited to CICA, possibly the South African Crime and Intelligence Community Awareness group.

In the report, Gauteng police are quoted as saying the protesters blocked streets, threw rocks and burnt tyres, preventing residents from going to work.

The photo was later used to illustrate articles on xenophobia in South Africa – including one on an Africa Check report that debunked a claim about the number of Malawian migrants in the country.

Nigerian police deny rumour

Back in Nigeria, posts on social media and media reports claimed criminals had attacked Igbo traders in parts of Lagos in the days after the election.

But police dispelled the rumour. They said officers had been deployed to crime-prone areas to “assuage the feelings of residents”. – Allwell Okpi (05/03/2019)


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.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’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.

Fighting coronavirus misinformation

Africa Check is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers fighting misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic.

Learn more about the alliance here.

© Copyright Africa Check 2020. Read our republishing guidelines. You may reproduce this piece or content from it for the purpose of reporting and/or discussing news and current events. This is subject to: Crediting Africa Check in the byline, keeping all hyperlinks to the sources used and adding this sentence at the end of your publication: “This report was written by Africa Check, a non-partisan fact-checking organisation. View the original piece on their website", with a link back to this page.