University

  • Did Buhari say he is unaware of ongoing ASUU strike?

    Claim: A viral screenshot claims President Buhari said he is not aware of the ongoing ASUU strike

    President Muhammadu Buhari did not say he is unaware of ASUU’s strike action because our findings and analysis show that the viral screenshot was manipulated.

    Full Text

    The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on February 14, 2022, embarked on a four-week warning strike which was extended by two months to afford the government more time to address all of its demands.

    The major demands of ASUU are; the renegotiation of its ASUU-FG 2009 agreement and the deployment of University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) for payment of its members’ salaries.

    On Thursday May 5, 2022, a screenshot went viral with the claim that president Muhammadu Buhari said he is not aware of the strike action. The news story was said to be published the same day by World Of News.

    The alleged report read “I don’t know ASUU is on strike since when and how long, nobody ever told me ASUU is on strike,” Buhari says. 

    Screenshot of the viral screenshot.

    Verification

    First of all, there is no news platform with the name “World Of News.” Looking at the screenshot, we observed that the byline had no name, just a combination of letters and numbers (kqce4), which is unlike an ideal news story.

    A keyword search did not lead to any news report on this claim or anything related.  We, however, found reports by the Guardian, Premium Times, noting the minister of labour,  Chris Ngige, updated the president on the deliberations and progress regarding the strike action. 

    SEE ALSO: FUOYE VC did not ask students to prepare for exams during ASUU strike

    This clearly shows the president is aware even though he has remained silent on the issue even at the recent Worker’s Day celebration where he was represented by the Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo. 

    Also, analysis of the image on Forensically shows the image had been manipulated.  Error level analysis shows the byline, date and text of the story show they were typed over another. Secondly, the image carries the three colour frames that indicate manipulation. 

    Screenshot of analysis result on viral Screenshot 

    Clone detection also reveals different manipulation done on the image.

    Screenshot of clone analysis. 

    Conclusion

    President Muhammadu Buhari did not say he is unaware of ASUU’s strike action because our findings and analysis show the screenshot was manipulated and no news report carried the claim. It is also remarkable that news reports in the past have shown the president is aware of the strike action, given that he is usually updated. 

  • ASUU did not ask universities to resume on March 15

    Claim: Some Facebook posts have a claim that Nigerian public universities are set to resume on 15th March.

    There is a possibility that ASUU resumes after its four-week warning strike. However, the union has not announced its plan to resume on the 15th of March as claimed by social media users. Rather, the union still maintains its “no resumption until implementation of 2009 Agreement” position. The claim is, therefore, false.

    Full Text

    As conversations between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and Federal Government of Nigeria continue, a “breaking news” which has a claim that varsities are to resume on 15th March, has been circulating on social media.

    Aside the need to revitalise public universities, the 2009 agreement between the union and Nigerian government has been a major source of incessant industrial actions, disrupting the education of students in Nigerian public universities. In order to demand the fulfillment of this agreement, ASUU again embarked on its fresh three-week warning strike on 14th of February, 2022.

    Particularly on Facebook, DUBAWA’s finding reveals a ‘breaking news’  started circulating on Wednesday, 9th of March, 2022. Screenshots of similar posts have been repeatedly forwarded by WhatsApp users in different versions. 

    The viral claim on Facebook

    While stirring controversial comments, some Facebook users have questioned the source of this claim. Despite that, a large number of people believed it to be true. For example, Isma’il Abubakar demanded for the source of this claim from one of the posters. 

    “…Plz stop playing with our emotions 😏😏,” he added to his comment which never got any response.

    Another user accused a poster of confusing people. He further urged other users to wait for an official announcement.

    He said: “U guyx are saying what u don’t knowledge, this not good delete this post, u are confusing people, wait for the anouncement first. ”

    A few users who doubt the credibility of this claim

    The viral claim on WhatsApp

    Over time, DUBAWA has observed that during significant situations in the country, individuals and blogs don’t stop sharing information. Despite that many fail to name their sources, many continue to misinform the public. Going by such an event, has ASUU declared its resumption plan? 

    Verification

    Information such as this usually makes it to the headlines of national dailies. But on the contrary, DUBAWA could not find any similar news in prominent Nigerian newspapers. News with such anticipated prominence with no actual appearance in any daily signifies a  red flag.

    Furthermore, after careful observations, DUBAWA discovered that the circulating information was written in the same format except with little changes, in a few cases. But while some of them were written with assertions that varsities are resuming, others used the expression “expected to resume” in their publications. But one thing was common with these different versions, their headlines carry the “breaking news” or “NEW” tag.

    Different versions of the claim

    Meanwhile, in a March 7th publication of Premium Times newspaper, ASUU still maintained its “no resumption until implementation of 2009 Agreement” stance. The union has already assured that it would continue the industrial action “until whatever the government wants to do with the agreement is completed and an acceptable implementation commences.” 

    This came from the leadership of the union after the minister of education, Adamu Adamu, gave a three-month deadline to the newly inaugurated committee members who are to renegotiate the ASUU-FG 2009 agreement. This further refutes ASUU’s resumption plan as claimed.

    Conclusion

    ASUU has not announced its plan to resume on the 15th of March as claimed by social media users. Rather, the union still maintains its “no resumption until implementation of 2009 Agreement” position.

  • FG yet to start payment of stipends to University, Colleges of Education Students

    Claim: WhatsApp message claims FG has began payment of stipends to University and Colleges of education students

    Although the website portrays the real logo of the Federal Scholarship Board, it is not in any way related to the board. The FG has not begun disbursement of stipends to students of tertiary institutions. It is a phishing website to scam unsuspecting members of the country, and the claim is FALSE.  

    Full Text

    A viral message on WhatsApp messaging app states that the Federal government has approved and began the payment of the federal government bursary to students who are currently studying in any accredited college of education in the country.

    The message claims that the Bursary Board will pay N75,000, N50, 000, N40,000, N20 , 000 per semester or term to students in universities, polytechnics, colleges and secondary schools respectively.

    The message also directed interested applicants to visit the online registration portal, adding that payment for October has begun for all applicants.

    It attached a website for students to check eligibility and for applications.

     Screenshot of the WhatsApp message

    On Tuesday 5 October 2021, the Federal Government proposed to pay the sum of N75,000 per semester for undergraduates studying education courses in public institutions and N50,000 for those who enroll for a National Certificate in Education (N.C.E.) programme.

    The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, made the announcement during the celebration of this year’s World Teachers’ Day in Abuja as the Federal Government reintroduces bursary awards.

    The Minister also noted that it will liaise with the Ministries of Education in the 36 states including the FCT Education Board, to identify respective courses of study required by each state after which N150,000 will be awarded for undergraduates and N100,000 for NCE students.

    Adamu said the fund would be sourced from UBEC, TETFund, and managed by the Federal Scholarship Board.

    Beneficiaries will also be awarded a sponsorship to at least one refresher training per annum.

    The news was widely reported in the news media like Legit.ng, Punch, Channels TV, Tribune, Vanguard amongst others.

    Verification

    Dubawa began its verification by clicking the link attached to the message and the search leads to a website with the logo of the Federal Scholarship Board and a form to fill.

    The form has a request for name, phone number, name of institution and a continue button.

    The next page contains further questions on the type of institution attended by the student, geo political zone of the students, and the age range of the student.

    Screenshot of the application page

    The page also contains some Facebook comments of purported beneficiaries writing good reviews about the grant scheme.

    Screenshot of purported beneficiaries Facebook comments

    Afterwards, a page was shown informing that the applicants had been approved for the grants.

    “After checking your applications, You have been approved N75,000 GRANTS PER SEMESTER Do Not Share Your Personal Withdrawal Code FG24/21/3034,” it says.

    It added that the BURSARY FUNDS will be available immediately after the applicant clicks the “Invite Friends/Group” button and shares the information with 15 friends or 5 groups on WhatsApp so “That They Can Also Be Aware of the BURSARY PROGRAMME.”

    It asked for the account details of the student at the end of the page.

    Screenshot of the congratulatory page.

    Further findings show that the website is not related to the MDA responsible for tertiary education in the country as it does not have its URL extension ending with gov.ng like all MDAs of the Nigerian government. 

    The original website of the FG scholarship board is https://education.gov.ng/fsb/  as its original website address.

    Screenshot of the FG scholarship board home page

    We further analysed the website using Whois,  a query and response tool used for searching databases that store registered users and assignees of an internet resource such as domain name, IP address block and a wide range of other information.

    Whois.domaintools.com showed that the website’s main domain was claimoffer.net registered August 25, 2018.

     Screenshot of the domain lookup page

    The current IP location is New York, USA. The IP history shows that the IP address has been changed once.

    Further findings also revealed the report of the story by Premium Times saying that the registrar and chief executive officer of the Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Josiah Ajiboye, a professor, said the implementation of the payment will commence in 2022.

    Conclusion

    Based on verification, it is evident that the viral message is a scam and a ploy to defraud unsuspecting students of tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the 2021 Kwame Karikari Fact-checking Fellowship partnership with Sobi 101.9 FM to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

  • Imo State University not renamed Muhammadu Buhari University

    Claim: A viral post on Facebook claims that Imo State University has been renamed Muhammadu Buhari University, Owerri.

    Verification has revealed that President Mohammadu Buhari only visited Imo State to commission four newly executed projects and there is no evidence to suggest that Imo State University has been renamed Muhammadu Buhari University Owerri.

    Full Text

    Imo state is seen by many as the hub of the operation of the pro-Biafra group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Nigeria’s South-east since the agitation for the independent republic of Biafra started.

    So the August visit of President Buhari on 9 September 2021, to commission four newly executed projects in the state, triggered contrasting satires, claims and opinions on social media.

    Dubawa stumbled on one of such claims by @TenSquare Reports, a Facebook page. It claimed that Imo State University has been renamed Muhammadu Buhari University Owerri.

    Screenshot of Facebook post

    This post has generated 211 comments and 145 shares as at 22 September 2021, the time of filing this report.

    Dubawa read the exchange of comments among users. While some believed and condemned the assumed act, others made a joke out of the post.

    Pascal Ase Larry in reaction condemned the Igbo tribe, apparently for allowing such action. His response reads in part, “Igbo kwenu! Hypocricy of d highest order. If it where (were) to be another south west or south suth (south) state that did this hypocrisy. we would have seen Igbo Facebook warriors criticizing, castigating, bombarding an calling names.”

    Another user, Fidelis Atubo, also tagged or painted it tribal. The user wrote, “How much them give the governor? Tank God say buhari don do 4years finish if not he for win again. This is the difference between the Northerners and the other people of Nigeria. Make we continue to take moni one day them go even collect our hand from us then there will be no hand to collect the moni again then eye’s go clear.”

    Screenshots of comments

    These replies triggered the urge to verify the authenticity of the claim.

    Verification

    Since this post didn’t give full details on when and where Imo State University was renamed Muhammadu Buhari University Owerri and didn’t provide a link to the full story, this researcher decided to conduct a word search.

    And the result revealed that despite the threat by the (IPOB) few days earlier to disrupt President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Imo State, the president arrived Owerri, the state capital on 9 September, 2021, to commission four newly executed projects by Governor Hope Uzodinma’s administration.

    The president commissioned a polytechnic, a balloon technology-driven underground tunnel with surface drainage (Chukwuka Nwoha), Naze Road, and Nekede/Ihiagwa Road in addition to a newly-built exco Chambers within the Government House, known as the Douglas House and the Egbeada Bypass (Amakohia).

    The president held a town hall meeting with leaders of the five states in the  South-east geopolitical zone before departing for Abuja.

    At the time of filing this report, Dubawa didn’t get any public record in any credible platform to show that Imo State University has been renamed Muhammadu Buhari University Owerri.

    So this researcher contacted the Dean, Students Affairs, Imo State University, Professor Okee Okoro, to confirm the authenticity of this claim, and he said the claim is false.

    “This is very very very untrue, There was no such thing as that and would never be. The President never visited the school even when he came to Imo State a few weeks back, so I don’t know how they got this claim  that Imo State University has been renamed Muhammadu Buhari University Owerri.”

    Conclusion

    Verification has revealed that President Mohammadu Buhari only visited Imo State to commission four newly executed projects and there is no evidence to suggest that Imo State University has been renamed Muhammadu Buhari University Owerri.

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the 2021 Kwame Karikari Fact-checking Fellowship partnership with JAY 101.9 FM Jos to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

  • NO! Tetfund is not giving university students ₦30,000 grants as claimed

    Claim: WhatsApp message claims Tetfund is giving ₦30,000 grants to tertiary students

    Although the website portrays the real logo of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), it is not in any way related to the agency; it is a phishing site to scam unsuspecting members of the company, which means the claim is false.

    Full Text

    A viral message claiming a payment of ₦30,000 grants to Nigerian students is currently circulating on social media. The message is accompanied by a link to the registration website.

    According to the message: 

    “TETFUND has approved the payment of N30,000

    To all Students Across Nigeria

    This is part of 2021 budget to support all Nigerian students

    Registration Portal has been Opened and Payment has began

    Note: Check if you’re eligible to get N30,000

    Click below to visit the official disbursement site

    https://bit.ly/Tetfund-Grant

    Batch B payment has been completed. As Batch C payment and registration is ongoing now!

    Screenshot of the whatsApp message

    Verification

    Dubawa began its verification by clicking the link attached to the message and the search leads to a website with the URL tetfund.claimoffer.online with the TETFUND logo and a form to fill.

    The form consists of name, residential address, phone number, email address, date of birth, name of institution and matric number with a Yes or No button at the end just before the Apply now button.

    Screenshot of the application page

    However, without filling the form, the reporter clicked the ‘Apply Now’ button and it led to another page which asks questions like if the student is a Nigerian, the region the student is based, and what will the money be used for.

    Screenshot of the page

    After answering the questions, it brought a congratulatory message and some Facebook comments of purported beneficiaries writing good reviews about the grant scheme.

    comments of purported beneficiaries

    The congratulatory message also asked the reporter to do the following things before getting credited; 

    “Congratulations, you are eligible for the ₦30,000 TETFUND GRANT.

    How to get your ₦30,000 credited to your account

    1. Before you continue, click the green button “SHARE” and send this to 5 WhatsApp Groups (Only Groups) for other members to benefit from this.

    Screenshot of the page

    After sharing, an account number and bank name to receive the ₦30,000 was requested.

    Further findings show that the website is not related to the MDA responsible for tertiary education in the country as it does not have its URL extension ending with gov.ng like all MDAs of the Nigerian government. The original website of TETFUND is tetfund.gov.ng as its original website address.

    We further analysed the website using Whois, which is a query and response tool used for searching databases that store registered users and assignees of an internet resource such as domain name, IP address block and a wide range of other information.

    Whois.domaintools.com employed showed that the website’s main domain was claimoffer.net registered August 25, 2021 with a website title “Jumia 9ja shopping festival promo.”

    Screenshot of the page

    The current IP location is New Jersey, USA. The IP history shows that the IP address has been changed twice.

    Screenshot of the page

    The main website was also visited and it contains a message saying, “Deceptive site ahead.Attackers on claimoffer.online may trick you into doing something dangerous like installing software or revealing your personal information (for example, passwords, phone numbers, or credit cards”). 

    Screenshot of the site

    Conclusion

    Based on all information verification procedures by this fact-check including online search, social media check and website database profiling, all information gathered points to the fact that the viral message is a scam and a ploy to defraud unsuspecting students of tertiary institutions.

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the 2021 Kwame Karikari Fact-checking Fellowship partnership with Sobi 101.9 FM to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

  • How true is El-Rufai’s claim that no country in the world offers free university education?

    Claim: On the 17th of June 2021, during one of his live media chats, Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai claimed that there was nowhere in the world where university or polytechnic education is free.

    Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s claim is false as it was made to reinforce his administration’s policy on the increment of school fees in tertiary institutions. Tertiary or higher education is free for citizens in some countries around the world like UAE and Brunei Darussalam.

    Full Text

    Kaduna State Government has been in an on- again, off- again battle with students of the state owned Kaduna State University (KASU) following an unprecedented increment in tuition fees. In April, news leaked that the university’s school fees had been increased by about 500 percent. Resident and non-resident students who paid between N23,000 and N38,000 depending on the faculty would now pay between N150,000 and N500,000, depending on the course of study. 

    The school management had later denied the alleged figure circulating online and in a statement stressed that: “though tuition fee would be reviewed upwards with specific fees on each course, it is yet to be announced. The figures being spread on social media are false.”

    Few weeks later, students of the institution took to the streets to protest the increment and called for a total reversal of the policy but the state government insisted there was no going back on the increment. The Deputy Governor of the state, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe had in a meeting with representatives of the students at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House stated that the increase, though painful, was necessary. A statement later issued stressed that: “It is the only way that the institution can stay afloat. We understand the pain; we are also pained but sometimes, some decisions are taken for the betterment of the generality of the people.”

    As the students’ protests persisted, the school management suspended academic activities for undergraduate studies and shut down the school indefinitely. However, to make his government’s position clear, on the 17th of June 2020, during a live media chat in Hausa, Governor Nasir El-Rufai claimed there was nowhere in the world where university or polytechnic education is free.

    While discussing the impasse with the students of KASU and explaining that his administration offers free education from primary to secondary school, El-Rufai in the 1hrs 58 minutes chat with selected radio stations which was streamed live on Facebook said: “Education in the university or polytechnic, all around the world, there is no where you can get it for free.”

    Verification

    This reporter conducted a keyword search using the Google search engine to research countries that offer free tertiary education for their citizens. Some of the common countries that consistently popped up as offering free tertiary education for their citizens include; Germany, Brazil, Greece Austria, Czech Republic, Norway and France.

    However, it is not clear how free these countries make tertiary education for their citizens as some of the countries still demand very low tuition fees while others demand semester and registration fees.  

    The reporter also sampled some rich countries around the world and found that countries like Brunei Darrusalam and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) offer free education up to tertiary level for their citizens.

    Brunei is a small country on the South China sea that borders Malaysia on the same island as Borneo and part of Indonesia. The country has enjoyed a tax-free policy since it gained independence from British rule in 1984 and financially supports a free education system for citizens throughout all levels of education. It is said that because of the country’s small population of 441, 660, most of its teachers are emigrants from Britain, Australia, or neighboring countries in Asia.

    Screenshot from an online resource material that shows that tertiary education is free for citizens on Brunei Darussalam. 

    Based on the country’s Ministry of Education website there are only four universities in the country. They  include; Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), UniversitiTeknologi Brunei (ITB), Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) and Politeknik Brunei. 

    On the embassy website of the  United Arab Emirates  for Washington DC, the UAE clearly states that it is a country that places high priority on education which is why the literacy rate for both genders stands at 95 percent in the country. The UAE prides itself as home to a wide range of public and private universities and offers UAE citizens free education at government institutions.

    Screenshot of the UAE embassy website in Washington DC

    The website states that: “UAE citizens can attend government institutions free of charge, and the UAE has one of the highest application participation rates in the world. Ninety-five percent of all girls and 80 percent of boys enrolled in the final year of secondary school apply for admission to a higher education institution.”

    Screenshot UAE embassy website showing higher education is free for UAE citizens. 

    Conclusion

    Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s claim that no country in the world offers free university or polytechnic education is untrue as online resource materials contradict the governor’s claim. 

    The 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. 

Back to top button