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Photos show Nigerian film character, not man with two heads

A social media account recently claimed that photos they shared showed a man with two heads in Nigeria, suggesting the images were real. But the claims are misleading: AFP Fact Check found that the pictures, originally shared by a Nigerian special effects artist, showed a fictional character from a Nigerian Netflix series.  

“Man wey get two heads don land for Naija! Wonders no go ever finish. Dem don discover man with two heads for Naija (sic),” reads a post published in Nigerian pidgin on March 4, 2024 and shared more than than 1,100 times.

Translated to English, the user claims that a man with two heads had just been discovered in Nigeria, with Naija referring to the country.

<span>A screenshot of the misleading claim, taken on March 26, 2024 </span>
A screenshot of the misleading claim, taken on March 26, 2024

The post features a collage of three photos. Two of the pictures show a man with what looks like conjoined heads. The third features him standing with another man.

Several Facebook accounts (including here and here) shared the same claim. An X account posted a similar claim with a video of the man.

Congenital malformations are rare in Nigeria.

In 2019, two Nigerian sisters joined in the chest were separated by a 78-person surgery team in the country’s capital city, Abuja (archived here).

Another set of Nigerian conjoined twins were successfully separated in Saudi Arabia in March (archived here).

However, the claim that the photos show a man with two heads is misleading.

Film character

Using a reverse image search, AFP Fact Check found that the pictures were screengrabs from a video posted on Instagram on March 3, 2024 (archived here).

The account behind the post belongs to a Nigerian special effects artist called Hakeem Onilogbo. His replies to comments indicated that he created the man’s second head for a TV series.

His caption included the hashtag “#anikulaporiseofthespectre”. 

It refers to “Anikulapo: the Rise of the Spectre”,  a Yoruba-language Netflix series released on March 1, 2024 (archived here).

“If you can think the imposibilities... @hakeemeffect will bring it to life, thanks to @kunleafo for thinking out of box (sic),” the caption reads.

The second Instagram account mentioned in the caption belongs to Kunle Afolayan, a Nigerian filmmaker who directed the series.

The character with the conjoined heads can be seen briefly 48 seconds into the third episode of the Netflix series.

Onilogbo told AFP Fact Check that the character was played by a member of his staff. He shared a photograph where it was easier to tell which head was not real.

"The head on the right hand side (with glasses) is a fake head, it's a prosthetic head," he said.

<span>Image of the prosthetic head courtesy of Hakeem Effects</span>
Image of the prosthetic head courtesy of Hakeem Effects

March 31, 2024 Updated to add comment from special effects artist