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COVID-19: At resumption, Nigerian universities pledged to keep students safe, how have they kept this promise?

By Silas Jonathan, Lois Ugbede, Lateef Sanni

Ten months after they were forced to go home from March 2020 by the Covid-19 pandemic and a strike by their teachers, the close to two million students of Nigeria’s 170 universities started getting notices from the Federal Government to return to campus by January 18.

The immediate challenge however was whether the tertiary institutions had the capacity, in terms of personnel and facilities, to meet the COVID-19 prevention needs of the burgeoning population of students.  

With case counts still at a little over 100,000 in the country then, notable among the skeptical voices was that of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which asked students to remain at home, because of what it claimed were inadequate facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the universities. 

But the management of many of the  institutions responded with statements of assurances, promising the students and the public of safety upon resumption. As it is evident in some pictures posted online shortly after resumption, some universities made modest moves towards COVID-19 prevention. How have they fared two months down the line?

DUBUWA visited some of these institutions to ascertain their level of compliance with COVID-19 preventive measures, such as regular hand washing,  temperature checks, physical distancing, and the wearing of face masks as advised by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Feeble adherence in North-Eastern universities

The main gate of ATBU Yelwa campus  had no handwashing facilities, temperature checks, and hand sanitizers on February 20, 2021

Although students were compelled by university security staff to wear facemasks at the entrance gate of the Yelwa Campus of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), DUBAWA observed that most of them take off their masks as soon as they are within the campus.   There were no temperature checks or hand washing facilities at the gate, hostels, or anywhere else on the campus. Furthermore, some classes visited were filled up with no adherence to the social distancing guidelines…Continue reading

Fact Checks of the Week              

A news report titled “We can’t effectively police the borders with 15,000 officers” was Tweeted by The Cable, an online newspaper, with the caption that Hameed Ali, the Controller-General (CG) of Customs, said the service has not recruited in the past 17 years.

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As Nigeria commenced administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine received on March 12, 2021, a lot of skepticism has been expressed by Nigerians on its side effects especially with South Africa’s suspension of the vaccine. However, the government and health agencies have continued to assure that the side effects are…

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On March 16, 2021, DEMAGOGUE PhD (@von_Bismack), a twitter user posted a tweet declaring that the Nigerian government has cancelled the admission and training of female cadets at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA). The post read…

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Tip Of The Week

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There’s precious little that we can do about the barrage of misinformation that we see daily, but there’s a lot we can do together if we learn to identify suspicious claims in the news and refrain from fuelling the fire by spreading them! Here are our top picks of likely-to-be-false news which [sadly] couldn’t be fact-checked.

  • Hurry Now Check if You are Eligible to receive N600,000 As Part of YOUTH FUND GRANT – SOURCE-  WhatsApp Message 
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A WhatsApp Message bearing a link to a supposed grant platform claims readers can check their  eligibility for a N600,000 youth fund grant.

Beware of links claiming you can access loans or grants through their websites as such links are mostly fraudulent.

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A Twitter User, Wemimo Adewunmi (@wemimospot) took to Twitter on March 5th to announce the shocking news that Cocacola now encourages people to cook with Coke. And in the comment section, people are seen expressing their surprises at the news. 

While this may be true, there’s also a possibility that it’s not. Employ a sceptical mind and conduct your own research while dealing with social media posts

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