……alleged victim’s lawyer calls for sanctions to be meted out on bloggers and media outfits involved
The Nigerian reported to be among the victims of the Ukrainian plane crash in Iran on the 7 of January 2020 whose photograph was published as Dauda Onoruoiza , says he is alive.
The alleged dead man in the picture, Mr. Adeleye Olayinka Bernard whose picture was used on social media and some National dailies said he was embarrassed and since his life and that of his family had never been the same again as people now look at them with strange faces.
At a media briefing in Lagos, the alleged plane crash victim wore the same shirt on the picture used to confirm that he was the person in the fake news published.
Mr. Adeleye says now wears face caps to cover his face when he walks on the street because he was being called Dead Man Walking.
“I was really shocked when I saw the picture, i became mute, what kind of a thing is this when am not dead somebody posting my picture dead.”
According to him, the picture that was used was taken on his birthday with wife and when the picture was used, he received many calls from friends and other family members wondering when he traveled out of the country and started working for Boeing as a trainee.
The alleged dead man said his mother fainted when the picture was showed to her that the son had died in a plane crash.
“When I was called from my house that my mother fainted all because of the news, I had to rush down to go and see her and tell her am not dead. What of if my mother from there passed away? This is not the thing we will be talking about now.”
“For someone posting such information, it is not right, that picture is the picture on my instagram profile picture.”
” She knew I I did not travel anywhere yet the news devastated her. As I recovered from the trauma I had to do a video call to her to believe I was still alive. Those who are behind this have caused too much trouble in my family . What if my mother had died ?” I think the police and relevant agencies should investigate why people do a thing like to embarrass people going about their own business .”
Mr. Adeleye Bernard, works with the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps in Odi Oluwoye LCDA in Mushin as the Head of the department.
Counsel to the Mr. Adeleye, Femi Martins, described the development as the height of irresponsible blogging and journalism and must be condemned.
“The fake news emanated from an online blogger instablog9ja on the 10th day of January 2020 which incidentally was the birthday of our client. on sunday the 12th day of January 2020, same picture appeared on the front page of Sunday Punch Newspapers with the caption “Nigerian Boeing trainee among 176 killed in Ukrainian plane crash.”
He added, “The fake story was also on Linda ikeji”s page, Facebook and a friend to our client also said he saw it on CNN, amongst other online and media outfits.”
According to him, the report was a national embarrassment for the fact that most of the captions of the fake publications had the name of the county Nigeria.
“These have been very trying times for our client, his immediate family, friends and well-wishers. it can best be imagined that the purported news of the death of the young man broke out on his birthday. It was reported that a close relative collapsed when she saw the pictures.”
Mr. Martins advised that bloggers and media outfits saddled with the task of disseminating information should ensure due diligence by verifying stories at their disposal before disseminating such information to the public.
Mr. Adeleye’s lawyer says they were of the opinion that appropriate sanctions be meted out to the online bloggers and media outfits involved, to serve as a deterrence for future embarrasing situations.
“You may agree with us that DEATH is the ultimate disaster anyone can think of, particularly for a man in his prime.”
“Going forward, we advise that bloggers and media outfits saddled with the task of disseminating information should ensure due diligence by verifying stories at their disposal before disseminating such information to the public”, he added.