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Viral video of lawyer burning judicial wig from Jamaica, not Nigeria

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Claim: A viral video shows a man burning a judicial wig, purportedly his, with the claim that he carried the action to protest the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) ruling in favour of President Bola Tinubu from the All Progressive Congress (APC).

Viral video of lawyer burning judicial wig from Jamaica, not Nigeria

Verdict: FALSE. The video was from a Jamaican attorney, Hugh Small, in 2022 to protest the country’s colonial affiliation with the British legal system.

Full Text

The petition against the 2023 presidential election outcome joined other lists of post-election petition cases since Nigeria returned to democratic government in 1999. This time, it was Tinubu of APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) against Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) among others at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal. 

The tribunal upheld the election result, dismissing the petitions in a televised verdict. Since then, many controversies have trailed the decision, as oppositions voiced dissatisfaction with the judgement. 

One reaction trending on social media is a 38-second video shared by various Facebook users showing a man burning a judicial wig worn by lawyers while in court session. 

On the Facebook page of Instablog9ja, the video was posted with the caption, “Trending video of a lawyer, one other burning his wig and the 1999 constitution over PEPT judgement.”

As of September 11, 2023, the post had garnered more than 5,000 reactions, 268,000 views, over 3,000 comments and 2,000 shares.

We also noticed that the face of the person in the video was not shown till the end, which cast doubt on his identity and if he’s truly a Nigerian, so DUBAWA decided to verify the claim.

Verification

We used Google Lens to obtain the source and did a reverse image search. It led us to a tweet by Charles Oputa (Charly Boy) on September 6, 2023, after the tribunal had been concluded. In the caption, he claimed it was a “slaughtered justice.”

We used a keyword search to describe the video and found a post on Jamaica Gleaners where Hugh Small, a Jamaican attorney, was burning his forebears’ judicial wig. According to the post, it was to protest Jamaica’s connection to its colonial past with Britain.

The video was shared 18 months before Charly Boy’s March 12, 2022 tweet. We also discovered the footage was made in Jamaica when Mr Small was relocating from St. Elizabeth to the Corporate Area in Jamaica.

Conclusion

The viral video was made by a Jamaican attorney last year and wasn’t in reaction to the judicial decision of PEPT.  Therefore, the claim is false.

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