Fact CheckMainstreamSecurity

Pictures of 2017 violence in Ibadan used to depict attack on SARS officers in Enugu

Claim: That Gunmen attack SARS operatives in Enugu, killing six officers and many injured


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On October 6, a Twitter user @OurPortHarcourt posted pictures of a fire-ravaged police station, claiming that the station was attacked by gunmen in Enugu.

She also wrote that the coordinated attack led to the death of six operatives of the (now disbanded) Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad while many were injured. It also stated that apart from setting the station on fire, prisoners were also freed.

As of 11:40 a.m. of October 15, the post which has gathered 1,562 retweets and 2,715 likes was watermarked and attributed to one Icon news.

The author of the claim tweeted: “BREAKING NEWS: Gunmen Clash With SARS Officers At Their Police Station In Enugu State, 6 SARS Operatives killed, Many Injured, Prisoners Set Free And Their Station Set Ablaze. More Details Coming Soon… 📸▪: Icons News”

How accurate are the attached pictures?


To verify the pictures, The ICIR subjected one of the attached photographs to google reverse image search to reveal if there were similar images attached to the post on the internet. Note that the four pictures were taken in the same environment.

Google reverse image, which provided results in 0.87 seconds shows that the images first surfaced online two years ago when a face-off ensued between men of the Oyo State Police command and butchers in Ibadan.

The incident which happened at the abattoir section of the Bodija international market in the state capital occurred as butchers in the market refused to relocate to a new market in Amosun village, Akinyele local government area of the state.

The clash led to the death of four people who were gunned down by the police for allegedly trying to burn the police station attached to the market.

While reacting to the killings, the irate butchers burnt vehicles parked within the premises of the police station while also destroying other valuables.

In a bid to ensure proper sanitary and healthy practices among butchers in Ibadan, the state government had asked butchers in the state capital to relocate to a centralised abattoir at Amosun village. This was on account of the unsanitary circumstances of major abattoirs in Bodija, Aleshinloye, and Gege which led the State government to de-license all slabs in Ibadan for two years.

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was one of the 14 units under the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department of the Nigerian Police Force before it was disbanded following protests by Nigerians over the unit’s notoriety and crass violation of human rights.

It was established to detain, investigate, and prosecute people involved in crimes like armed robbery, kidnapping, and other forms of crimes

Over the years, the special anti-robbery police unit has been accused of gross human rights violation while discharging its duties and to the extent that there have been repeated calls for the unit to be disbanded under the hashtag #EndSars, to avoid extra-judicial killing of citizens.


The above findings dispel the falsity and non-conformity of the pictures. Checks show that the attached pictures show a face-off between Ibadan butchers and police two years ago.

The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with The ICIR to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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