Don’t Believe the Morbid Hype: Nigerian Restaurant (NOT) Selling Human Meat

Every once in a while, I’ll get sent an article that is something so fantastical and bizarre that I’m not so sure I even believe it. This is a very good approach to have when dealing with popular news and morbid topics- don’t believe what you read. Yes, we find evidence of vampire related burial practices- NO, there are not real vampires. Yes, there are some elongated skulls that don’t have a traditional human shape- NO, they are not aliens, they are just humans with cranial modification. But there are really strange morbid things that happen that are real. Remember the story about the guy who drank a mummified toe in a whiskey shot? I do! It really happened! But other stories… maybe not so much.

Let’s look at a recent gem and take the article apart to determine whether it is true or false. Here is the title:

“Nigerian Restaurant Shut Down For Serving Human Meat”

Brilliant, right? Makes you want to click on it, tweet it, send it to your morbid friends. It also includes a great picture of meat right under the title. Yeah, baby. This is going to be good.

Random meat photo from Flickr user De Troya. A random photo is a good sign that you may need to question the reliability. If this was a real case, wouldn't they have photos from the site where it happened?

Random meat photo from Flickr user De Troya. A random photo is a good sign that you may need to question the reliability. If this was a real case, wouldn’t they have photos from the site where it happened?

So what is the next line…

“This post contains content that some readers may find disturbing.”

Well that just makes me even happier. Let’s read on:

“A Nigerian restaurant has been shut down after police discovered human meat being served to customers, the Daily Mail is reporting.”

First red flag- the article says that it is getting its news from Daily Mail, which is known for its sensationalism. Good popular news article usually cite a journal article, or a university, or a recognized government organization, or at least an expert. Citing another sensational news website as your resource is not a great sign. Second red flag- if you click the Daily Mail link it is dead and says the article has been taken down. Hmm. So there isn’t actually any resource to help us narrow down where this information came from.

If we look around, another article with the same title reviews more about the tragedy of the Nigerian restaurant selling human meat, and shares loads of details:

“When police raided the restaurant they discovered human heads that were still bleeding, with the blood draining into plastic bags.

Ermighad.... WHAT?!?!

Ermighad…. WHAT?!?!

A priest who ate at the restaurant was alarmed when presented with a bill of 700 Naira, or roughly $4.40 (Tens of millions of people in Nigeria subsist on less than $1 a day). “The attendant noticed my reaction and told me it was the small piece of meat I had eaten that made the bill scale that high,” he said. “I did not know I had been served with human meat, and that it was that expensive.”

Not only was the restaurant caught with human flesh, police also found a number of automatic weapons, grenades, and cell phones.”

So in this version, the restaurant actually is advertising that the human meat is on the menu, and of course, they serve it to a priest. If this restaurant is making it known that they serve human meat, and is serving it as a delicacy, how did people not know about this earlier?

What about evidence? We don’t know the restaurant, we don’t know the location, the priest seemed to be more upset about the cost of the meat and not the fact that he just ate human…

This news article attributes their information to the BBC. Well, that is definitely slightly more reliable. Of course, if you go to their link, you get this information (you have to translate it from Swahili though to read it):

Hmmm... this does not seem right. Suspicious cat is suspicious...

Hmmm… this does not seem right. Suspicious cat is suspicious…

“Nigeria: Reporting restaurant is not true” [sic]*

Uh oh. That isn’t a good sign.

“The story about the Nigerian restaurant Which we published here frame a mistake and we Apologise. It was incorrect and BBC published without the proper checks.We have removed the story and have launched an urgent investigation into how this happened.” [sic]*

Dang. I guess this isn’t true. But I’m not the only one questioning it. It turns out this particular news article resurfaces every couple years. Snopes has already done an investigation about the report when it was first released in 2013.

So how do we determine whether sensational news is true or not?

1. Evidence: where does the article come from, who is cited in it, does it cite an expert or reliable source like a journal or university or known organization or government? Are multiple sources citing a single unreliable source?

2. Details: could we track down this information or confirm its reliability? who was involved, where did it happen, who was at the scene when it happened

3. Realism: does the story and reactions seem real? in this one, the priest seemed more upset by price rather than food source… that is a little odd. Whereas in the whiskey cannibalism example, people quoted in the article had more real reactions.

*The phrasing is a little off here- this is due to the translator used by Google Chrome. I didn’t alter it since I wanted to keep the original source

3 responses to “Don’t Believe the Morbid Hype: Nigerian Restaurant (NOT) Selling Human Meat

  1. Scandal? Crime shocked Nigeria / or media manipulation
    2015-05-18 bildzeitung
    Salah Elnemr
    A mud hut in Anambra, Nigeria
    Qelle; BBC, 21 feb .2014 & May 17, 2015
    Customers were shocked to find out they have been served war.Ein Nigerian restaurant was shut down human flesh after it was found to serve human flesh. In the BBC reported, the hotel restaurant in Anambra, Nigeria came under scrutiny after locals told police there were rumors she is cooking human flesh to its customers. When the police raided the restaurant discovered human heads that were still bleeding, the blood drainage in plastic bags.
    A priest who was frightened eaten in the restaurant, as with a bill of 700 naira, or about $ 4.40 presented (millions of people in Nigeria live on less than $ 1 a day).
    “The attendant noticed my reaction and told me it was the little piece of meat I had eaten that the scale of reckoning, made up,” he said. “I did not know that I was served with human flesh, and that it’s so expensive.”
    Not only was the restaurant caught with human flesh, the police also found a number of automatic weapons, grenades and mobile phones.
    10 people were arrested in connection with the crime.
    One resident said: “Every time I went to the market, I noticed strange activities held at the hotel.
    “People who have never been dressed clean and looked a little strange on the way in and out of the hotel, which made me very suspicious of their activities.
    “I’m not surprised by the shocking revelation.”
    A mud hut in Anambra, Nigeria
    A mud hut in Anambra, Nigeria Photo: Alamy
    By David Chazan
    10:49 AM BST 17 May 2015
    A Nigerian restaurant has reportedly been shut down after being accused of serving human flesh Following the discovery of bags Containing human heads in the kitchen.
    A report on the BBC’s Swahili Service Said police were alerted by local people who Suspected something horrific thing going on at the restaurant in the south-eastern province of Anambra.
    The police raided the establishment and allegedly found the heads, dripping blood into plastic bags, and weapons Including grenades. Ten people were arrested.
    One resident said: “I’m not surprised at the shocking revelation … Every time I went to the market, I Observed strange activities going on in the hotel.
    “People who were never cleanly dressed and who Looked a bit strange Made Their Way into and out of the hotel, making me very suspicious.”
    A local priest who ate at the restaurant was alarmed at the prices it what charging after being presented with a bill for £ 2.20 – nearly four times the daily wage for millions of Nigerian laborers.
    He told what the high cost of the piece of what Because meat he had eaten. “I did not know I had been served human meat, and it Was that expensive,” he said.
    by: Salah Elnemr
    writes Nessie hoaxer’s Diary on 9 March 2014 so we are in May 2015 (one years later)
    Human flesh butchers in Nigeria
    Posted on 9 March 2014 by Philipp Nolden
    A guest at a hotel restaurant in the Nigerian province is surprised at the high price. Then he is told that it was a very special delicacy: human flesh.
    During a raid, the local police later several automatic assault rifles of the type AK-47 as well as plenty of ammunition safely. And it makes one more important grausigeren Fund: In the kitchen store two neatly wrapped in cellophane human heads. Other pieces of meat, partly already prepared for consumption, are also probably of human origin.
    Neighbors say out later, you were there guests often occurred suspicious. A priest who in this restaurant was sometimes a guest, on the other hand asserts to have no idea the least – although police said “roasted human head” to have been found on the menu explicitly.
    One should not believe.
    Honestly, you should not just think so. This story – free retold by me – I’ve found at Honigmann. Not that there is anything new that there are all sorts of robber pistols. But of modern cannibalism in sub-Saharan Africa one hears from time to time. At least in the popular literature, the subject may now and then serve as a tension bearer. Since I knew already wondering if there something is off.
    Wikipedia provides surprisingly little to modern cannibalism – especially material for serial offenders and cannibalism in survival situations. But not to bring to the gloomy events in the remotest corners of our planet, which are obviously still appropriate in the 21st century our imagination to speed.
    So let’s go just for fun times the source references for.
    The Honigmann refers to RIA Novosti, a Russian news portal, which also published in German and seems to have a certain reputation in right-wing circles German conspiracy bloggers. The article in RIA Novosti on February 12, 2014 refers again to the Daily Mirror.
    Although not directly linked, one may well assume that this is the same British tabloid. And in fact can be found in its online archive, a message of the same date. Unfortunately, lacking any references.
    So must be googled.
    It seems haunted the history of Nigerian human flesh Restaurant by all sorts of German and English tabloid news portals (eg B.hier). And with a little Search can identify the common source.
    The Osun Defender is a tabloid from the Nigerian state of Osun. And this has already reported on September 5, 2013 incident.
    Now I do not feel in a position to assess the credibility of tabloids in rural sub-Saharan Africa. But a few things fall at the latest story here but then on:
    All previously mentioned or found during the search reports are virtually identical content and wording.
    All information is obviously taken without further research from the message in Osun Defender.
    There, too, the details are rather vague – “a hotel (name withheld)”, “a vegetable seller in the area”, “A Pastor Who was among the people who tipped off the police”.
    On the other hand it must be said that the story actually seems to come from the angle of Africa, to which it also refers. That’s far more than you can say about many other things that can be found on Conspiracy blogs so.
    The press releases of the Nigerian police and the news on the Internet sites of the regional administration in Osun give her nothing about. However, this is not surprising; that you do not like to make headlines as official representative of the region with such a story, I can understand.
    So where the Osun Defender has his information from? Classical journalistic investigation? Have the editors do even talked to the pastor and the greengrocer?
    Apparently not.
    Even the Osun Defender has the whole story apparently only depreciated, thankfully the source is acknowledged. Zip is a Nigerian Naija blog with the subtitle:
    Latest News Gossip, Fashion And Style, Nigeria Entertainment News, News and feature Relationship Tips And Sport.
    Naija Zip again called as a source Naijaloaded, another Nigerian news portal, whose article appears to be the primary source. Specifically this means that the absence of any further trace Sources loses here. Whether the information comes from here or was only taken here from another source, can not be seen. And here are the details of non-specific or accurate.
    According to the company’s Naijaloaded
    the Most Visited Online Platform That Delivers Fresh Hot Nigerian Music, Video, News and Technology content on a daily basis to Nigerians Home and Abroad.
    The portal operators pride themselves on being one of the most popular and fastest growing relevant platforms Nigeria and to have only one year after the online start won the award for “The Best Nigerian Online Platform”.
    The reader may now ask themselves decide whether it is worth continuing to look for independent evidence, or whether one should assume simply that can achieve good click-through rates with messages of this type not only in Germany but also in Africa precisely – and that they are much too attractive for the tabloids to make up the Fund with overly detailed research even broken.
    After all, it was a nice horror story for a Sunday morning.
    Second helping
    Naijaloaded reported yesterday (8 February 2014) by the arrest of terrorists, who as itself

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