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Tweet asking students to acquire skills, have fun is from a parody account, not ASUU

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Claim: The screenshot of a report by PM news claims that ASUU has urged students to acquire new skills, travel, and have fun, implying there is no end to the strike in sight.

Misleading: The news report is false and misleading. It is based on a parody account of ASUU on Twitter and ASUU has denied having any Twitter account.

Full Text

The seven-month long strike of the  Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) looks like it will linger longer than it has even though the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba recently berated ASUU for refusing to call off its strike. The minister said the union has no reason to be on strike because the federal government has met all but one of their demands. 

However, the ASUU President, Biodun Ogunyemi, has said the ongoing strike may continue if the government fails to meet its demand for the federal government to jettison the Integrated Pay Roll and Personal Information System (IPPIS). 

On Thursday November 12, 2020, a news report by PMNews claimed ASUU has  advised students to make good use of the strike period to retool, travel, and have fun. 

Viral Screenshot of PMNews report.

Verification

A keyword search by Dubawa led to the actual news report by PMNews. The headline of the report was “ASUU urges undergraduates to acquire skills, travel and have fun.” While the headline ascribes this statement to ASUU, the body of the story noted that this statement was made by a parody ASUU account on Twitter.

“A parody account of  Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU has given undergraduates seven pieces of advice on how to spend their time because of the union’s indefinite strike.”

Excerpt of PMNews report.

Screenshot of PMNews report.

Even though ASUU’s parody twitter account was not linked to the story, Dubawa went ahead to find this parody Twitter account and its post.

Dubawa found three Twitter accounts with the name ASUU on Twitter: one is a personal account @funmibucknor who changed the account name to #ASSU, the second is @ASUUNGR  and the third @ASUUNGR_.

The second and the third Twitter account claim to be the official account for ASUU. The Twitter account of @ASUUNGR set up in 2014 is older than @ASUUNGR_ which was set up in 2018. A close look at both accounts shows @ASUUNGR_ is a copy of @ASUUNGR with just additional symbols to its name. For example, instead of @ASUUNGR and Official_ASUU, the third account is @ASUUNGR_ and Official__ASUU.

But both Twitter accounts have been responsible for false or misleading claims in the past. A check by Dubawa earlier in October has revealed.

Going through the content of each account, Dubawa found the statement used in the report on @ASUUNGR_. This implies that @ASUUUNGR_ is the parody account.

“This strike is an opportunity for any undergraduate to get a skill.

Students should always seize opportunities to add value to their life. At no time will conditions be favourable. Successful people only seize opportunities.

Here are 7 ways you can make the most of this period.”

Excerpt of the Twitter post.

Screenshot of ASSU parody Twitter account.
Screenshot of Twitter thread by ASUU Parody account.

ASUU’s reaction

ASUU has long distanced itself from any Twitter account in a statement earlier in August and also confirmed to Dubawa in a text message that it does not have a twitter account. ASUU’s president, Biodun Ogunyemi, described the operators of these handles as impostors.

“No. ASUU does not have a twitter handle. The operators of the twitter handle are impostors.” 

Excerpt of ASUU President’s reaction.

Conclusion 

The report by PMNews quoting an account identified as a parody account is false and misleading. In addition to this, there is no report of ASUU making this statement by any media platform except PMNews. 

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