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Son of university commission head graduates in Scotland while Nigeria’s academics strike? No, photo three years old

A message posted on Facebook on 1 December 2020 claims that the son of the head of the Nigeria Universities Commission graduated from a UK university while lecturers at government-run universities remain on strike. 

It shows a photo of Prof Abubakar Rasheed, executive secretary of the commission, at the graduation of his son, Adamu Rasheed, holding a doctorate in engineering certificate from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

Son of the head of Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) graduates in the UK and he proudly celebrates with sons certificate in hand while ASUU remain on strike,” the message reads. Asuu is Nigeria’s Academic Staff Union of Universities, an association of public university lecturers.

The message keys into a popular narrative that Nigerian political elites send their wards abroad while the country’s education sector is in bad shape. 

Months-long university strike

Asuu members went on strike in March when lecturers who failed to enrol into the federal government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (Ippis) were not paid. The payroll software has been made mandatory for public officials. The strike was still ongoing in the first week of December.

The union is opposed to Ippis being used for lecturers because “it does not consider some of the peculiar operations of universities”. The lecturers want the government to adopt the University Transparency and Accountability Solution as an alternative. 

Graduation photo from November 2017

A Google reverse image search reveals that the photo has been circulating on the internet since November 2017. The certificate in the photo is dated 24 November 2017.

The photo has been used on social media platforms and blogs to criticise the government and Rasheed for his son being educated abroad while Rasheed was leading the commission, which regulates universities in Nigeria.

University lecturers did go on strike in 2017, but the graduation photo is not recent and not related to the ongoing action by the academic union. – Allwell Okpi


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