Photo of collapsed flyover was taken in India, not Nigeria

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An image showing a damaged flyover bridge has circulated in numerous social media posts claiming that it shows shabby construction work in Nigeria’s northern Taraba state. However, this is false; the photo showing the collapsed structure was taken in India, not Nigeria. 

The viral image appears in a Facebook post on a page called “Lizzy TV”. The post’s caption claims that the photo shows a collapsed flyover in Nigeria’s northeastern Taraba state. It has been shared more than 300 times since publication on April 26, 2021.

Screenshot taken on April 28, 2021, showing the false Facebook post

AFP Fact Check had previously debunked a claim shared on the same Facebook page that Chinese restaurants were serving human penises supposedly shipped from Nigeria. The page changed names from “Itz Lizzy TV” to “Lizzy TV” the day after the debunk was published, according to Facebook's page transparency information.

Screenshot showing the Facebook page’s history, taken on April 28, 2021

Lizzy TV is run by supporters of Nigeria’s separatist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) group, and like many pro-Biafra accounts, the page regularly uses sensational news and misinformation to attack the country’s leadership.

Taraba’s first flyover bridge 

In February 2020, the Taraba state government unveiled plans for the construction of the state’s first flyover bridge and the dualisation of a major highway in the capital Jalingo in an effort to ease traffic congestion. 

With the construction project underway, Nigerian separatists have been circulating the viral image giving the impression that the construction workers are doing a  shabby job.

Besides the posts by the separatist group, the photo of the damaged structure was also used for political vendetta. Supporters of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) amplified the claim to discredit Taraba’s governor Darius Ishaku of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

“A fly over bridge under construction by a PDP Governor in Taraba state has collapsed (sic),” reads the caption on a tweet published alongside the image. “There was wild jubilation when work began on the strategic bridge. Now,  the bridge has crash landed. The Governor is an Architect (sic).”

Screenshot taken on April 28, 2021, showing the tweet

Photo from India

But in reality, there is no report of any bridge collapse since the project in Taraba began, and the photo in question was not taken in Nigeria.

A Google reverse image search led to a March 2021 news report on the website of Indian daily newspaper Times of India about the collapse of a flyover under construction near Kaithal in India’s northern Haryana state.

The structure came crashing down on February 27, 2021, after a concrete beam was laid on two supporting pillars, according to the report.

The newspaper published the photo being used in the false Facebook posts as well as other similar images taken from the spot.

The tragedy was also reported by Indian broadcaster Zee Punjab Haryana Himachal. The news report, published on YouTube on February 27, 2021, featured footage showing a wider view of the scene.

AFP Fact Check found that the collapsed structure, landscape and other physical features seen in Zee Punjab Haryana Himachal’s footage match those in the viral photo.

Screenshot showing similarities between the viral photo and Zee Punjab Haryana Himachal’s footage, taken April 29, 2021

AFP Fact Check has reached out to the Taraba state government but is yet to get a response. We will update this article as more information becomes available.