Obiekwe’s death: Impostors compound fans’ agony
Social media impostors took their tricks to the extreme on Sunday when they posted conflicting information about the death of Nollywood star, Muna Obiekwe.
Shortly after the announcement of the death, operators of his fake Twitter account claimed he was alive, thus causing confusion online and beyond.
Obiekwe’s colleagues and fans had earlier taken to a certain Twitter handle, @munaobiekwe, to confirm the news of his death. But the unknown operator had urged the concerned ‘fans’ to ignore the media report of his death.
Another Nollywood actor, Nonso Diobi, was one of those who responded to the fake operator. He had pleaded, “Tell us what is going on. Is he really dead?”
The debate on Obiekwe’s passage had continued to rage for a while, with several bloggers withdrawing their initial reports until an actress named Ejiro Okurame claimed the wife of the deceased had confirmed his death.
Following Okurame’s tweet, the impostor apologised for peddling false information and promised to sign off the account.
“Forgive me. I actually hate the actor (referring to Diobi). I would have hacked his account, but I guess he got lucky,” the impostor tweeted.
Before his death, the cloned Tweeter handle of Obiekwe, who was never on the platform, had 12,600 followers and recorded 2,246 tweets.
Five other Tweeter accounts were opened and operated with the name of the late actor. But the @Munaobiekwe was the most active among the pseudo Twitter handles.
Until his death, Obiekwe was one out of many Nigerian celebrities whose identities were cloned on social media platforms for dubious intentions. While some did not consider it necessary to denounce the phoney accounts, many warned their fans to beware of the faceless criminals operating them.
Meanwhile, colleagues and fans of the actor, who died of kidney-related complications, have expressed condolences, describing the passage as shocking and a huge loss to the entertainment industry.
On his Twitter page, Diobi, who had to attend to fans seeking clarification of the sad event, wished that Obiekwe had not passed on. “I wish it was not true,” he tweeted.
Also, Nollywood actress, Uche Jumbo, condemned the confusion caused by the impersonator and said it was sad that Obiekwe had to go so soon. She, however, added on Twitter that she was consoled by the fact that he led a worthy life.
Another actress, Halima Abubakar, who had changed the cover of her Instagram page in honour of Obiekwe, wrote, “I am very shocked at the news of this great guy’s death. Warm person that he was, I never knew he was sick and that he was married. I feel so sad about the young family he left behind. I am lucky that I did several jobs with him. We will miss you.”
Many fans took to social media on Monday and accused the Actors Guild of Nigeria of abandoning the movie star, who reportedly died in a Lagos hospital.
The general mood was captured by Ify Okeke’s angry post on Instagram. The actress wrote, “I am so angry! Yes, not just because we lost another great talent but because in this industry we are not our brother’s keeper. Muna might have wanted or lived a private life, but people knew he was sick; people knew his health condition. But what did they do? Some tried, but if they had cried out to the world, Muna might get help. We are just colleagues, but no real friends.”
But, responding to the accusations on Monday, the President of the AGN, Ibnabo Fiberesima-Egbuka, tweeted, “We never ignore our members. If we are informed of a situation we take action. We have gone out of our way to help non-members, much less our own.”