CLAIM: On June 10, 2020, multiple online sources claimed that Nigerian actor Olu Jacobs had died after a brief illness. The news trended on Twitter and Facebook all day.
The claim was also published by a blog and was shared extensively on Facebook.
Olu Jacobs is not dead. An investigation by our fact-checkers reveals the rumour started on Nairaland in a post that has now been deleted.
The 78 years old award-winning actor who has starred in many international movies and television shows is married to Joke Silva.
Debunking the viral report, Joke said her husband is alive.
She said her “family found the development so depressing that members had to speak out.”
Also, in reaction to the claims, the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) debunked the rumour warning mischief makers to desist from spreading false information about members of the guild.
The AGN described such act as wickedness.
Spreading death rumours and hoaxes about popular figures is not new to the Nigerian social media and online space.
On June 4, 2020, popular former Nollywood actor Hanks Anuku was also rumoured to have died after a brief illness by several media sources. The actor who now lives in Ghana released a video to debunked the rumour.
Nigerian Actors Rumored to Have died in the past include:
In July 2017, Nollywood actor, Ramsey Noah, was rumoured to have died while filming at a location, in Ghana.
Ramsey took to his Instagram page to debunk the news on July 11, 2017.
Veteran Nollywood actor, Chiwetalu Agu, was rumoured to have died by a post on Facebook in February this year.
The 64-year-old actor, who was upset about the speculation, resorted to cursing those behind it.
He described the rumour of his death while alive as malicious.
Veteran Yoruba actor, Fadeyi Oloro whose real name is Ojo Arowosafe, had his share of rumoured death in May 2019.
Oloro was later discovered to have only been hospitalized.
Others who have not been spared in these malicious act include; Pete Edochie, Odunlade Adekola, Nkeam Owoh, Muna Obiekwe, Jim Iyke, Ghanian-Nigerian actor Van Vicker, Foluke Daramola, and Kannywood’s Maryam Yahaya.
Why People Spread Death Rumours
False death announcements of public figures on social media can be classified under the following: accidental; misreported; misunderstood; hacked, and hoaxed with the last the most popular in Nigeria.
It generates engagement and online traffic to the website.
It is fun for some misinformers.
Nollywood Actor Olu Jacobs is not dead. It was a rumour promoted by bloggers and social media users involved in promoting fake news to drive traffic to their blogs and become popular.
CDD is urging members of the public to verify all information before sharing false information, as this can have a severe impact on those affected.