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FACT CHECK: Did Anthony Ukpo’s son say his father died of COVID-19?

FACT CHECK: Did Anthony Ukpo’s son say his father died of COVID-19?
September 28
12:01 2021

You might have come across a 54-second trending video credited to the “son” of Anthony Ukpo, late former military governor of Rivers state and retired brigadier.

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According to news reports, Ukpo died in the early hours of September 6 at the age of 74 as a result of a “lingering ailment”.

However, the video, widely shared on social media and instant messaging platforms — particularly WhatsApp and Facebook — featured a man alleged to be Ukpo’s son talking about how his father died of COVID-19.

@garrisonhayesThank you to everyone who sent love and kindness my way! Don’t stop encouraging the people you love to get vaccinated. #studytok #christiantiktok

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“My dad died from COVID two weeks ago today. And watching his month-long battle with the disease was the most painful thing I have ever had to endure,” the man in the video said.

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“And the most upsetting thing about it is that it was totally unnecessary. It was the fake conspiracies and lies from the very beginning of the pandemic.

“Stuff about 5G signals and plandemics and a lot of those conspiracies carried over once the vaccine became available.”

Meanwhile, the man didn’t mention anything related to Nigeria or the former military governor.

Uduk Iyanga, a Facebook user, also posted the video with the caption, “General Anthony Ukpo’s son commenting on his Dad’s death”. His post has garnered over 80 views and two shares.

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Also, a news website with over 52,000 Facebook followers shared a related article with the headline: “Why My Father Died of COVID-19 – General Ukpo’s Son; Mailafia, Too”. The news story was accompanied by a picture of the man in the video.

“This was as a son of former Military Governor of Rivers State, Brigadier-General Anthony Ukpo revealed that his father, the General, died of COVID-19,” the article partly read.

“The young man, in an emotional but courageous video recording, said his father’s death was unnecessary, as it was avoidable.”

BUT HE IS NOT ANTHONY UKPO’S SON

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Contrary to the claim that the man in the video is Ukpo’s son, TheCable found out that he is a different person who goes by the name Garrison Hayes.

TheCable understands that Hayes is a US-based pastor.

On September 20, Hayes shared the viral video on his TikTok account. Since then, the video has generated over 56,000 likes and more than 6,500 comments. Two weeks earlier, Hayes had announced his father’s death in an Instagram post.

VERDICT: The claim that the former military governor’s son said his father died of COVID-19 is false. The man in the viral video is a US-based pastor.

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This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.

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