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Old photo used to depict University of Maiduguri students supposedly studying under streetlights in 2024

IN SHORT: Several Facebook posts from May 2024 claim that students at the University of Maiduguri in northeastern Nigeria are studying under streetlights at night. But the photo has been online since 2016.

A Facebook post, dated 20 May 2024, claims that students at the University of Maiduguri are forced to study under streetlights at night.

The university is in the city of Maiduguri in Borno state, northeastern Nigeria.

The post is accompanied by a photo of people sitting on the ground at night. They appear to be studying in the light of the streetlights.

The post reads: “UniMaid students studying under street lights! A terrible reminder of the decay in the tertiary education system! Yet, N90Billion is currently being spent on pilgrimage.”

A pilgrimage is a journey undertaken for religious purposes. Hajj is the pilgrimage that adult Muslims make to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

In May, Nigeria’s vice president Kashim Shettima announced that president Bola Tinubu had released N90 billion to subsidise the 2024 Hajj pilgrimage.

Many Nigerians criticised the move, saying the money could have been used for improvements in a number of areas, such as education.

The education sector in Nigeria has often been criticised for poor infrastructure, lack of basic facilities and shortage of competent teachers.

But does the photo show students studying under street lights in 2024? We checked.

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Claim is misleading

A Google reverse image search revealed that the photo has been online since 2016.

It was posted by the Nigerian news site Legit on what was then Twitter on 7 September 2016 with the caption: “University students spotted reading with streetlights (photo).” But the link in the post no longer works.

The photo was also posted on Facebook and on the blog site Flexxzone in September 2016. In both cases, it was claimed to be of students from the University of Maiduguri.

While this doesn't prove that the photo shows Maiduguri University students studying under street lights, it does prove that the photo is at least eight years old. 

The claim was also posted here, here, here and here on Facebook.

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