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How true is claim Nigerian Vice-Chancellor urged female students to “go and marry”?

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Claim: a viral WhatsApp message claims that the Registrar, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), advised that female students should go and marry while male students should go learn handwork as school resumption appears to blink.

The viral WhatsApp message in form of a circular  that claims the Registrar, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) has advised that female students should go and marry while male students should go learn handwork as school resumption appears to blink is false and misleading. The PRO of the institution confirmed the circular to be fake and false.

Full text

COVID-19 has no doubt taken an enormous toll on almost every aspect of human life. In Nigeria, one issue that has remained on the news waves is the actual resumption dates for schools. 

Due to the unprecedented nature of the current situation, schools are overwhelmed by the steps to take in order to prevent the spread of the virus. 

For secondary and primary schools within the country, the situation would appear bearable since they’ve resumed in the last quarter of 2020 and had some experience in managing themselves amidst the pandemic. Nonetheless, the predicament is totally new for government universities that were closed down due to the ASUU strike throughout the wave of the pandemic in 2020. 

Now that the strike has been called off,   resumption will appear a gigantic charter for them to undertake owing to the required adequate planning and precautions that will be needed to put in place before resuming. It is amidst this dilemma that multiple claims as regards the resumption of government universities, continues to erupt in the social sphere without a basis to dub it as a lie or enough evidence to base it as the truth.  

A similar case is a viral WhatsApp message making rounds as a circular. The message claims that the Registrar,  Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi is advising all female students to marry while male students should go and find handwork. 

Consequently, the first and second paragraph of the circular debunked an existing rumor about the school’s resumption on January 18th, 2020, while the major claim concerning the students came as the last paragraph and read: “Students and the general public are hereby advised that all the male genders should go and learn handwork and the female genders should as well start getting married. We MOVE!!!”

Considering the delay and setbacks, students of government universities have faced due to the ASUU strike and the prevailing pandemic. The claim under scrutiny is sensitive enough to arouse diverse feelings amongst students. Thus, DUBAWA subjects the case under study to uncover its veracity. 

Verification

When DUBAWA reached out to the institution connected to the claim, the Public Relations Officer of the University, Abdulkadir Shehu, noted via a text message that the circular was false and misleading. He added that just last week the university had to debunk similar claims about its resumption. 

The text reads, “the circular is fake, and it’s not from us. We respect our students and uphold the need for education amongst both genders.” As regards resumption, he added that “Last week we debunked a similar case concerning resumption.  When you talk about ATBU and resumption whether ASUU is satisfied, I can tell you that we have yet to see any tangible improvement, whether in hostel accommodation,  classrooms, and other things needed for COVID-19  protocols. As such, the resumption of students of the institution is yet to be announced.”  

Noticeably, the lingering circular contains an informal phrase that is very unlikely to be found present in an official circular of a reputable university. The phrase “WE MOVE!!!” Was popularly used during the EndSARS protest as part of the slogan. To be found present in this same circular raises a red flag. 

Conclusion 

The circular purportedly from the registrar of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), advising female students to go and marry while male should go learn handwork as school resumption appears to blink is false.

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