Bloody photo of Nigerian political hopeful is from movie set

March 17, 2023 GMT

CLAIM: A photo of a man with a bloody face shows Lagos State House of Assembly candidate Olumide Oworu after his team was attacked while campaigning in March 2023.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. This image is from 2022 and shows Oworu in special effects makeup on a film set. While Oworu has said a member of his team was injured in an attack in March 2023, this photo doesn’t show the injury.

THE FACTS: The Labour Party candidate for a House of Assembly seat in Nigeria’s Lagos state became the subject of false claims this week, shortly before he hopes to win the office in Saturday’s elections.

The misinformation began after Oworu, who was a popular Nigerian actor before his candidacy, tweeted on Thursday that his team was attacked while campaigning earlier in the week.

“My team and I were attacked on Tuesday as we attempted to campaign at Iponri, Surulere,” he wrote. “A member of my team was injured, but we are thankful the incident didn’t escalate past the level it was. The case has been reported at the Iponri police station.”

Oworu added in a follow-up tweet that he was “not deterred” by the incident and would continue campaigning through Surulere Constituency 1, the district where he is running.

In the hours after Oworu’s announcement, social media users began sharing an image of the candidate in a white shirt and black tie, his face covered in caked-on blood. The posts together amassed thousands of shares.

“This is the LP candidate Olumide Oworu challenging Desmond Elliot in Surulere, Lagos,” one Twitter user wrote with the image. “He was att@cked by Tinubu #APC thugs and security agencies aren’t doing anything about it. That’s the Nigeria they want.”

However, a reverse-image search shows the image predates the alleged attack, and was captured on a film set for a Nigerian movie called “On the Edge.”

A special effects artist posted the image with a series of photos on Instagram in October 2022, showing how she mimicked the progression of a swollen eye using prosthetic makeup on Oworu.

Oworu posted the image on his own account a few days earlier, captioning the shot, “Alagbado John Wick #OnTheEdge.”

The details of Tuesday’s alleged attack were unclear, and Oworu’s campaign and a police spokesman didn’t immediately respond to calls for comment.

Local press reported on a separate attack on Labour Party supporters in Surulere on Thursday, injuring some party members.

The ruling All Progressives Congress party candidate, Desmond Elliot, released a statement on Facebook condemning attacks on Labour Party supporters in Surulere.


This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.