Fact CheckMainstream

Footage of ‘mysterious fire’ burning on top of water at Lagos, not recent

Claim: A clip showing fire burning on a body of water, said to be Lekki Beach.

Footage of ‘mysterious fire’ burning on top of water at Lagos, not recent

Verdict: Misleading. The video is being recirculated from an incident in May 2021 at Ilashe Beach, located around Badagry in Lagos State.

Full Text

Over the years, seemingly “strange events” have happened worldwide, making people gawk in awe. While science has proven some of them to be of natural causes, the ones unclear to some individuals are concluded to be “signs of the end time.”

This is true of a recent clip which began to circulate on WhatsApp. The three-minute footage, which initially emanated from Tiktok, shows a huge fire burning on a body of water that is said to be the Lekki beach in Lagos State. While heavy smoke engulfed the atmosphere, the fire appeared approaching the shore.

Emanating from different speculations about the cause of the outbreak, social media users have described the happening as a sign of the end time calling for repentance.

“End time is coming hellfire sign in ajah Lekki beach hell is real my people repent before it’s too late, (sic)” the video caption reads.

Aside from the massive WhatsApp shares, this clip has also been reposted by many Facebook users, including Dewale Alagbagun Odeomu and Omri Land. They both believed this to have happened just recently.

Footage of ‘mysterious fire’ burning on top of water at Lagos, not recent
The clip has been forwarded many times on WhatsApp.

Not only that. On April 26, 2023, StarNews, a blog, also published this information as breaking news. The author, Olumide Akinrinlola, further attached a YouTube link where users could watch the video.

Therefore, because of the growing attention that the video has generated and its possibility of misinformation, DUBAWA decided to run this check.

Verification

We conducted a reverse image search on the claim. The service permits users to search for similar images using a picture as a starter. It is done via search engines like Google or Yandex.

Several results from this search linked the circulating footage to an event since May 25th, 2021. This incident occurred at Ilashe beach, located along Badagry in Lagos State and not Lekki beach as purported. Meanwhile, Google Maps shows Lekki and Badagry are 89.1 kilometres apart.

Is fire burning on water strange?

In July 2021, multiple newspapers reported how the Gulf of Mexico was engulfed by fire over an undersea gas leakage. According to NBC News, this was caused by a rupture in a pipeline passing under the Gulf.

“The fire burned for more than five hours before it was extinguished, according to Pemex, the Mexican oil company that controls the pipeline,” The New York Times similarly reported.

While the cause of this particular occurrence was identified, there were only speculations around the likely causes of that of Ilashe Beach. Moreso, DUBAWA could not find any official report from the Lagos State Government explaining the cause of this fire outbreak. 

The closest, however, could be an analysis tweeted by Jesse Attah, a strategic intelligence analyst. He said the fire must have been caused by “a failed diesel fuel smuggling attempt.”

Footage of ‘mysterious fire’ burning on top of water at Lagos, not recent
Mr Attah’s tweet.

Conclusion

Our findings have revealed that this circulating video is not recent. Additionally, the fire outbreak occurred at Ilashe Beach around Badagry, not Lekki Beach. Also, its cause has been linked to an oil spillage.

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