Social media users are sharing a purported image that captured the ejection of Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, whose fighter jet was shot down by bandits in Zamfara State on the 18th of July 2021.
The narrative the image purports is false as there is no official image that captured Flight Lt. Abayomi Dairo’s ejection. The image was first released online in 2014 by Bremont Martin Baker after Martin Baker; a British Aviation Company that produces fighter ejection seat technology partnered with Bremont, an award winning British Company that produces engineered chrometers.
Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo became a national hero when news of his successful ejection from a fighter jet which was shut down by bandits in Zamfara State was announced. The young pilot was rescued by a Nigerian Army Unit in Zamfara State after he evaded bandits using “survival instinct,” found shelter until he was rescued.
According to the spokesperson of the Nigerian Air Force, Edward Gabkwet, the crash happened at about 12:45 on Sunday, 18th July 2021. “On 18 July 2021, at about 12.45 pm, a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jet aircraft, returning from a successful air interdiction mission between the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna State, came under intense enemy fire which led to its crash in Zamfara State,” he said.
Several Facebook users have posted an alleged image of Flight Lt. Dairo said to be the time he was ejecting from his Alpha jet with some even defending the image by saying modern war planes have cameras positioned within the fighter jets while others claimed it was captured from satellite imagery.
The topic enjoyed discussions on Facebook with some saying the image was photoshopped while others said it was captured by satellite
Professor of Broadcasting at the Ahmadu Bello University, Ladi Sandra Adamu, even tagged it photo of the week on July 24th 2021 and insisted that the image was captured with advanced technology.
Salisu Sule and Obed C K Shemang have also shared the image praising the young pilot while Umar Buharist Buharified, posted the same image stating: “His jet was shot down by the Boko haram sect after a successful bombing mission on Sunday. He was chased and hounded by those scoundrels after he successfully injected himself from the ill-fated aircraft, but thankfully he was able to escape to freedom.”
The image was analyzed using Google reverse image search, Tineye and Yandex, which showed that the exact same image has appeared severally online and goes back to 2014.
Aviation Company said to be responsible for supplying over 70 percent of the western world’s air forces with fighter ejection seat technology and Bremont; an award winning British Company that produces engineered chrometers.
Screenshot of a Google reverse image search shows the original image has been used multiple times to advertise the Bermont MB III watch which is the result of a partnership between Martin Baker and Bremont.
In a 2014 news release, Bremont Chronometers released an image of the Bremont MB III luxury watch together with the image of a flight pilot ejecting from a plane. The original Bremont MBI is a limited edition solely for pilots who have ejected from an aircraft using Martin-Baker seats whereas the MBII and MBIII are available to all.
Tineye provides 111 results and shows that the image appeared on several foreign and local sites before 2021 and it is used to visualise reports on the use of ejection seats by air forces around the world.
Also, having been subjected to visual analysis, the jet used to portray Flight Lt Abayomi’s ejection appeared white in colour while it is customary that Nigeria’s Alpha jets and other NAF air power appear in the country’s military desert and woodland camouflage.
Conclusion: The image is not that of Flight Lt. Abayomi Dairo as it first appeared online in 2014 and has been used by several foreign and local platforms to visualise the convenience of using ejection seats during combat operations by air forces around the world. Also, Nigeria’s fighter jets appear in the customary military desert and woodland camouflage not white as portrayed in the image in question.
This researcher produced this Fact Check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with Daily Trust newspapers to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.