Picture of ‘Biafra arms’ truck circulating in Nigeria taken in US – in 2008

Despite authorities dismissing as false a photograph purportedly showing a truckload of arms confiscated in Nnewi, the second largest city in Nigeria’s Anambra state, the image continues to do the rounds.

One message received this week on Whatsapp, the popular global messaging service, reads: “Trailer loads of ammunitions taken over by police force at Nnewi. Time to watch & pray”, followed by the picture.

Nnewi is located in south-eastern Nigeria, a region that was caught up in the country’s secessionist Biafra war 50 years ago.

The government of the state asked Nigerians to disregard the picture after it fuelled rumours that the arms been ferried in from northern Nigeria, hidden under yams.

The state’s commissioner for information, Tony Nnachetta, said the photo was the work of irresponsible characters using electronic messages to spook an unwary public.

“It is obvious that this is an attempt to set up our people against themselves, create suspicions and unnecessary tension where they harvest mischief and unsavoury reactions,” he said in a press statement.

An aide to the governor, Ifeanyi Aniagoh, further confirmed to Africa Check that the image was not from the state.

If not taken in Nigeria, where is it from?

Some details in the picture – such as a white policeman in the background – immediately raise a red flag as to the picture’s origins.

By doing a reverse image search on Google, we traced the picture to David McNew, a staff photographer with Getty Images, an American stock photo agency.

It was taken on 15 July 2008 in Rancho Cucamonga, California, when police unloaded 12,153 illegal guns and other weapons confiscated from criminals. The firearms were to be melted into steel bars for construction. The caption stated that “California law demands that confiscated weapons be destroyed”.

The picture therefore has nothing to do with yams, Nnewi or Nigeria. – David Ajikobi (18/08/2017)

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