FACT CHECK: Did Police kill civilians at Ihiala, Anambra on 30 November 2021?

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A video showing about four dead bodies littering a road in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra, Southeast region of Nigeria, started attracting social media attention today 30 November 2021.

The video was trending on Facebook with the claim it shows peaceful protesters killed by men of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF). A man was seen capturing the moment with his mobile device, could be heard lambasting the police, and expressing his displeasure with their presence on Anambra roads (the checkpoints).

A particular Facebook post accused the police of ‘shooting peaceful protesters for expressing their grievances’. The video had garnered over 350 shares and collected more than 1,900 views as at the time of filling this report.

The man lamented, “Just imagine what the police officers have caused here. All these people died because of what the police have caused. We have taken over 11 people to the mortuary. Look at blood everywhere.

“We have rushed some to the hospital. Even little children were involved. Just imagine. Over 13 persons died here. Look at dead bodies. Some have been rushed to the mortuary. Look at what the police have caused”, said man capturing the events had added.

But was it really the police that killed these people? NewsWireNGR checks.

The tragedy happened on Sunday 28 November 2021, and it was a ghastly road accident — not a shooting

The video scene analysis by this reporter, confirms that it was taken on Sunday 28 November 2021. The caption being circulated on the 30 November 2021, is false.

On Sunday 28 November 2021, at about 3 P.M. WAT, three vehicles were involved in the fatal crash at the Okija axis of the Onitsha – Owerri Expressway in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State.

According to the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) same day, four persons died — contrary to the eyewitnesses’ claim of 13 and some social media posts’ claim of “over 200” victims.

FRSC listed the vehicles as Nissan caravan (a white coloured commercial bus) with registration number AAH-836-ZV, another whitish, commercial Nissan caravan with number AWK-278-YD and a truck (Mack) with no registration number.

This description is consistent with the vehicles seen in the viral video.

FRSC said that 16 people were involved in the road crash: seven male adults, seven female adults, one male child and one female child. It said that two male adults, one female adult and one male child lost their lives while 12 were injured.

While guessing the cause of the accident, FRSC said that it suspected excessive speeding and brake failure. It quoted an eyewitness in its statement as saying that “the driver of the trailer sighted the police checkpoint, matched his brake which failed him and he rammed onto the two buses being checked by the policemen in front of him as a result of brake failure.”

“The injured persons were taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Ihiala for treatment while the corpses were deposited in the mortuary of the same hospital by the FRSC rescue team and obstruction cleared,” the statement partly read.

VERDICT

Claim that police shot and killed civilians at Ihiala, Anambra State on Tuesday, 30 November 2021, is false. It was a road accident that occurred and claimed lives.

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