EducationFact Check

Picture of students sitting on mud blocks in flooded classroom, not from Nigeria

Claim: A Twitter user shared a picture of a flooded mud classroom alleged to have happened in Nigeria.

Verdict: The image used to depict the state of classrooms in Nigeria is falsely used. The image is originally from Kenya and was first shared in 2019. 

Full Text

Omoaka Christopher (@leroikris) tweeted a narrative with a rather disturbing picture of some students. They sat, on clay moulded blocks, in a cob building that is alleged to be their classroom. Hinged on the cracked-riddled walls of the structure appears to be their books packed in polythene bags. 

While their legs are stretched forward to avoid the flooded floor, their gloomy faces cast the hopelessness of their reality; one of the claimants said he would not wish such for the children of his enemies. 

Mr Christopher, who subtly implies the picture depicts the state of primary education in Nigeria, then suggests a solution, advising users to save the image as a reminder to vote wisely in the upcoming general elections in Nigeria, adding that Labour Party (LP) will guarantee a better Nigeria. 

“Just look at this picture. Would you even want your enemies’ children to be in classrooms of this nature? Save it on your phone as a reminder when you go to the polling station on 25 February 2023. You will vote LP for a better Nigeria,” he tweeted. 

Picture of students sitting on mud blocks in flooded classroom, not from Nigeria
A screenshot of Mr Christopher’s tweet on Nigeria’s alleged state of classrooms.

Like most politically motivated claims online, the post generated over a thousand views, with some reactions and retweets. 

Many experts have criticised President Buhari’s administration for poor governance. In 2020, Nigeria’s GDP had a negative growth rate of 3.2% due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, by 2022, data shows the country’s expenditure on education has reduced to about four to five per cent of the annual budget, while private education increased rapidly.

Even worse, in 2022, the floods ravaged over 34 states out of 36, displacing over 2.8 million people and killing many, attracting criticism and concern over the state of things in Nigeria. Perhaps, based on this context, Mr Christopher is building this alleged narrative. But is the picture from Nigeria? 

Verification

DUBAWA first conducted a Google reverse image search on the alleged image to track its origin online. The results revealed the image has been online since 2019, and its surrounding narratives have much to do with Kenya, not Nigeria. 

In 2019, the image went viral in the Kenyan social media space. The origin narrative depicted students of Mangororomu Primary school in Ganze, Kilifi, Kenya, sitting on mud blocks as their classroom is filled with rainwater. It was first published by The Star News, a Kenyan-based digital platform, on May 9. 2019, with the headline: 

Uproar as Kilifi children taught in flooded classroom

Picture of students sitting on mud blocks in flooded classroom, not from Nigeria
A screenshot of the published news story by Star News.

Tuko, an award-winning digital news platform in Kenya, also published a news story on the picture, with the headline: Kilifi: Netizens angered by a viral photo of pupils sitting on bricks in flooded classroom 

Both the news sources detail how barefooted pupils sat on stone blocks as muddy rainwater swirled around them in a leaking mud-wall classroom in Ganze constituency, Kilifi, Kenya, not in Nigeria. 

DUBAWA found that the image was also used elsewhere to misinform the public. In November 2022, the same image was falsely used to depict the state of classrooms in Boki, Cross River, in Nigeria. However,  an Africa Check’s fact-check debunked the claim, linking it to the Kenyan narrative. 

Conclusion 

The alleged image used to depict the state of classrooms in Nigeria is falsely used. The image is originally from Kenya and was first shared in 2019. 

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