Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Education policy leads to increased girls enrollment, reduced child marriage in north-west Nigeria

Despite security challenges, the education sector plans in six north-west Nigerian states led to a significant increase in girls’ enrollment in secondary schools and a reduction in the percentage of girls married before the age of 18, a new report has shown.

The report said before the introduction of state education plans, the average girls’ secondary school enrollment declined and rates of early marriage increased.

The study – Gender Review and Advocacy For Gender Responsive Education Sector Planning (GRESP) – was authored by the development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC) with the support of the Malala Fund.

The report covers a gender review of 11 years (2011 to 2023) of State Education Sector Plans (SESPs) in Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara States.

SESPs is the only official education policy in Nigeria that mainstreams girls’ education goals within the education system and establishes performance indicators for government outcomes within the basic education system.

There was a five per cent increase in secondary school enrollment rates across the six states during the period of the education sector plans and the rate of child marriage fell by an average of 6.9 per cent across the states during the period of the plan, the report said.

It further pointed to an intersectionality between the two outcome indicators – enrollment and early marriage. Jigawa State, with the highest increase in enrollment for girls at the basic education level, was also the state with the second most significant reduction in the age of marriage.

Conversely, Kaduna State, which experienced the lowest change in enrollment rates for girls within the same period, also experienced the least change in the age of marriage for girls among the six states.

In terms of positive change in girls’ education outcomes, Jigawa State also takes the lead, followed by Kano, Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina and Kaduna.


The dRPC researchers aimed to generate empirical evidence to show how the components of education sector plans and operational plans deliver a gender-responsive education system that keeps girls in school and supports their learning outcomes.

Applying a mixed method research methodology, the gender review first conducted a trend analysis of two girls’ education outcomes to establish patterns in the period before sector plans were introduced in Nigeria and the period during education sector planning in Nigeria.

At the launch of the report last Tuesday, experts said the review is timely and significant, coming against the background of the exogenous shocks to the school system in Nigeria. The shocks include COVID-19 and its impacts and the incessant attacks on schools and abductions of schoolchildren in the region

The researchers also conducted a Focus Group Discussion with a total of 180 school-age children.

Factors threatening school enrollment

The insecurity in north-west Nigeria has led to the compulsory closure of many schools. This is a major factor that would likely stop students, especially girls, from achieving their education plans for the future, the report states.

“Compulsory school closures had a significant impact on students’ psychological, social, and mental well-being, causing a large number of students to forget nearly everything they had learned at school prior to the start of the lockdown and school closure,” it added.

The attacks on some schools may have also deterred some students from going to school. About 14 per cent of female and male participants from educational schools and 7 per cent of girls in all-girls schools mentioned that insecurity and school attacks were factors that could stop them from achieving their educational plans.

The researchers also found that while insecurity was a factor, poverty and lack of financial support are also a threat to future education while COVID-19 also played an impact.

When asked about the impact of COVID-19 on their education, 13 per cent of students from girls’ schools responded indicating a loss of interest in continuing education as a result of COVID-19.

No boys gave such a response, the report said.

Other factors mentioned by participants included drug abuse and peer pressure, bribery and corruption, fear of not succeeding in school, fear of not getting employment after graduation, and discouragement by the community members.

The report noted that gender responsiveness in education sector planning calls for flexibility to adjust to these unpredictable challenges emerging from the environment impacting negatively on the education of all children, especially girls.

Second stage of analysis

The second stage of the gender review sought to explore relationships between the trend in girls’ education outcomes established in the first step in the analysis and the structures and functions of bureaucracy prescribed by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) model of gender-responsive education.

The GPE model of Gender Responsive Education Sector Strategic Planning (GRESP) argues that during the formation phase of planning, the application of three specific process factors can contribute towards positive girls’ education outcomes.

The factors include: gender equality and girls’ education policies and strategies integrated into education sector plans; Stakeholders, including CSOs and local communities as well as government departments that are consulted during the design; and the GRESP has adequate financial resources allocated to gender equality and girls education strategies.

Here, the analysis found clear and consistent correlations, thus confirming the prescriptive powers of the GPE model of gender-responsive education planning.

Findings show that Jigawa, Kano, and Katsina states budgeted for activities derived from State Education Sector Plans (SESP). While in Kaduna, Sokoto, and Zamfara states, there was less alignment between the activities of the state education sector plans and annual budgets.

In terms of SESP activities in the annual budget, Jigawa State emerged as the state that allocated the most funds to SESP activities. On the contrary, Zamfara, Katsina, and Sokoto performed poorly in terms of allocating funds for SESP activities.

Call for Action

The report noted that with new administrations at the federal and state levels, this is the time for a definitive understanding of what works for girls’ education and what has not worked for girls in the education system of states implementing education sector plans over the 11 years of 2011 to 2023 in Nigeria.

Experts said the findings of the report provide an opportunity to strengthen the gender transformative plans through the advocacy of civil society stakeholders. They said evidence-informed advocacy is critical in Nigeria in 2023 given the recent findings of the 2022 UNESCO Global Education Monitoring (GEM) report, which showed that the out-of-school population of Nigeria virtually doubled between 2016 and 2022 to 20 million.

Trailing behind India and Pakistan, Nigeria now stands as the third country with the largest out-of-school population. The majority of these children are recognised by the Nigerian government to be girls, many of whom are in the northwestern states with education plans.

In its 2018 data on out-of-school children, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) reported the estimated number in Nigeria as 10.1 million out of which there were approximately 3.2 million out-of-school children cumulatively in the six northwestern states covered in the dRPC report.

The 3.2 million is about 31.84 per cent of the total estimated number of out-of-school children in Nigeria. Out of this number, 1.9 million were boys and 1.2 million were girls.

Why the six north-west states?

In terms of criteria for selecting the states studied, the researchers said the review of the gender responsiveness of education sector plans of Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara was “strategic and important for generating evidence of what works for girls’ education.”

The six states are accessing the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) funding.

The GPE is an independently governed partnership that includes national governments, multilateral organisations, civil society, the private sector, and foundations.

Established in 2002 as the Education for All Fast Track Initiative, the GPE has evolved and now designs evidence-informed and gender-responsive education sector plans.

GPE contends that gender responsiveness in education sector plans offers the most comprehensive and systematic approach to delivering change in girls’ education.

For a country such as Nigeria, GPE serves as a mobilisation point for donor coordination of multiple development impact investors, including the World Bank and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to fund the country-led basic education interventions very often with a specific focus on girls’ education.

Between 2012 and 2020 when Nigeria became a GPE partner, a total of $101 million has been awarded in grants to the West African country, of which $81 million has been disbursed as of January 2020.

States’ performance

In 2020, dRPC organised a gender workshop for the recipients of the grants to assess their education sector plans in terms of gender transformative, gender-responsive, integrated, or gender-blind characterisation.

The result shows that delegates from Kano and Jigawa states assessed their respective education sector plans as gender blind. Delegates from Sokoto and Katsina assessed their education sector plans as gender-responsive.

Meanwhile, delegates from Kaduna State assessed their plan as ranging between gender responsive and gender transformative. This was highlighted by the fact that the state has done much to mainstream gender into the education sector plan.

“We have rated Kaduna to be between transformative and responsive (high on the responsive and just going into the transformative scale),” the researchers said.

By Kabir Yusuf, Premium Times

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Monday, March 4, 2024

Video - Nigeria aims to return millions of children to school by 2027

Millions of Children across Nigeria have been forced out of school due to violence and insecurity, with some ending up homeless or being forced into child labor. The government there now wants to reverse the trend and return the children to school, a move that has been welcomed by activists.


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Monday, February 26, 2024

Students from Nigeria who fled war in Ukraine are being told to leave Europe

Olabisi* was out to get groceries during her post-graduate clinical rotations at the Ivano-Frankivsk National Medical University in western Ukraine on the morning of 24 February 2022 when she heard loud bangs. Then came breaking news alerts: Russia was invading Ukraine. She rushed home to pack a few belongings.

“In the course of moving, I lost my certificates and even my passport,” she said.

She headed towards the border between Ukraine and Romania with hundreds of thousands of others. Thankfully, with her Ukrainian ID card, she was allowed passage. From Romania, she travelled by train to the Netherlands, along with other students whose lives had just been uprooted.

Olabisi chose the Netherlands because – like a number of western European countries – it had announced plans to take in people displaced from the Ukraine war, and she had heard it was cheaper and more welcoming than others.

In 2022, the European Union activated a rule called a Temporary Protection Directive, granting those fleeing war a stay for up to two years – until March 4, 2024. In mid 2023, the Netherlands decided that non-Ukrainian citizens or “third world nationals with temporary residence” must leave a year earlier than previously announced. They – most of them students – brought a collective case against the Dutch government insisting that they be allowed to stay the allotted time. The Council of State, the Netherlands’ highest administrative court, agreed.

But now time is running out for Olabisi and those like her. Roughly 2,200 people from different nationalities are said to be affected. (Students interviewed for this story say they prefer their luck in Europe over the option of returning to Nigeria, where they consider the academic system sub-par and prone to interruptions.)

Olabisi is one of an estimated 4,000 Nigerian students who had been studying in Ukraine before the war. The eastern European country had attracted African students, particularly medical students, partly due to the relatively low costs of studying and partly as a product of student exchange programmes dating back to the former Soviet Union’s investment in African countries.

Olabisi and other students say that, to make matters worse, the Nigerian government has not adequately intervened via its embassies to help them.

They say Nigeria has left them in limbo, just as it did with the 1,625 Nigerian students in Ukraine who were finally evacuated to Nigeria in July 2022, four and a half months after the war broke out.

Nigerian diplomats missing in action, in Europe?

The Nigerian mission in the Netherlands disputes this. Eniola Ajayi, Nigeria’s ambassador to The Hague, told openDemocracy: “All the reprieve that students got in the Netherlands was due to my efforts… I have helped them as much as is possible within my capacity. This is the truth.”

The embassy claimed the mission housed some “families at the Guest Chalet of [Ajayi’s] Residence until they were able to get alternative accommodation” and cash assistance was given to others. The embassy also mentioned the case of a depressed student who was sent back to Nigeria for medical treatment.

The mission said it had given Nigerian nationals ample notice of the Dutch government’s intentions. To stay beyond the March 2024 deadline, the Dutch government has advised students to either seek asylum if they could prove their lives would be at risk back home, or accept an independent offer of 5,000 euros to return there.

Olabisi does not qualify for asylum as her life is not at risk in Nigeria but she doesn’t want to return to the country she left since she was 17. Now 30, she cannot imagine rebuilding her life again, especially as Nigeria experiences a steep economic decline.

Nigerian government, still missing in action

While the Nigerian government backs the return of students who are currently abroad, there is no safety net for those who do so, the students claim.

Wasiu Sidiq, 21, was studying at Lviv National Medical University when the war broke out and he was evacuated. When he returned to Nigeria, he attempted to continue his studies remotely – but stopped when the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria said it would not recognise medical certificates issued for online study.

The government claimed it was providing an option for the evacuated students to continue their education in Nigerian universities instead. The Foreign Affairs Ministry published a call-out on its website asking concerned students to register towards being placed locally – but the website link never worked and no students could register.

Sidiq, frustrated, decided to return to Europe, where he headed for Lisbon and is currently working in customer services for 890 euros a month. He tried to start uni there, but does not speak Portuguese and so has been unable to.

“If I don’t go to work, I cannot eat or pay my rent,” he said. “So I don’t have the time to go to the language class. All of us are just doing that.”

Sidiq claims students have tried to contact the Nigerian embassy in Lisbon for assistance with resettlement and negotiations on residence permits.

“They have not responded to us at all,” he said. “The embassy is not working. I have to leave Portugal to go and renew my passport.”

openDemocracy approached the Nigerian embassy in Lisbon for comment. A consular assistant insisted the embassy could only respond in person, in a physical meeting. Written questions and requests for a virtual meeting were ignored. Repeated requests were also made to Aminu Tanko, head of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora and the Abuja office of the Nigerian in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM). The latter promised a response that did not come.

Consular failures, according to John Osuntokun, a professor and former Nigerian ambassador to Germany, are largely due to lack of priority.

“It is a large country and there are so many issues waiting for attention and this situation is going to be the least important to them,” he said. “My advice to them will be to come home.”

Osuntokun said standard practice is for complaints from Nigeria’s foreign missions to be relayed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for advice.

Asked if the ministry had received any such requests from the embassy, the foreign ministry spokesperson told openDemocracy: “The ministry has not received any such complaints.”

Two years into the war and with fate hanging in the balance, experts believe there is little the embassies can offer now. “Consular services are not services that provide long-term solutions; they are supposed to provide immediate help and assistance,” said Matthew Ayibakuro, a governance adviser at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in Nigeria.

* Name has been changed.

Ope Adetayo, openDemocracy

Related story: Video - Fourth Batch of Nigerian Evacuees Arrives Nigeria

Video - Nigeria's medical council bans certificates issued from Ukrainian universities

Nigerians blocked from volunteering to support Ukraine’s fight against Russia

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

School in Nigeria helps girls to heal after Boko Haram

What 19-year-old Binta Usman remembers most vividly about her early days at the Lafiya Sarari girls’ school in Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria’s Borno state, are the frequent tears that made it hard for her to concentrate in class.

“We’d all be sitting in class and all of us would just be crying,” she says.

Like Usman, whose father was killed and family held captive by the militant jihadist group Boko Haram, all 100 women and girls at the school have either witnessed a parent’s murder or been kidnapped themselves.

Another pupil, 17-year-old Hassana, recalls being forced to join the militants, handling weapons and carry out acts of violence. “We drank blood,” she says.

Boko Haram has targeted schools as part of its campaign of atrocities in north-eastern Nigeria since 2010. It has carried out massacres and multiple abductions, including 2014’s killing of 59 schoolboys, the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014 and 101 girls in Dapchi in 2018.

Between 2013 and 2018, according to the UN, Boko Haram abducted more than 1,000 children, using them as soldiers and domestic or sex slaves. Amnesty International has estimated that 1,436 schoolchildren and 17 teachers were abducted between December 2020 and October 2021.

The Lafiya Sarari school was set up in response to the terror Boko Haram has inflicted. Established in 2017 by the Neem Foundation, a Nigerian charity set up to help communities affected by violence, the school is designed to provide support and education to those who have suffered trauma.

“What we do is a trauma-informed learning approach,” says Dr Fatima Akilu, a psychologist who helped set up the foundation. “It’s not a set programme.”

She says: “Some people have post-traumatic stress disorder, some come in with depression, some come with anxiety – it changes.

“We used to have a psychologist in the early days when we first started, but now all we have is a full-time counsellor who knows the girls, who has been with them throughout.”

Akilu initially envisioned Lafiya Sarari as a model of reconciliation, where children of victims, perpetrators and the security forces could receive education together.

But the conflict disrupted education, leaving gaps in learning for children too old for traditional primary school classes. “I didn’t even know ‘ABC’ when I came here,” says Usman, who enrolled aged 12.

The selection process involved interviewing girls aged between 11 and 14 from displaced communities and in refugee camps. “We selected girls who were tenacious and could become something because this was going to be quite a long project.

“Quite a few of the girls had come out of captivity at the time, so some of them were really in a bad state [and] needed trauma support. That was also one of the criteria because we could give them long-term treatment,” says Akilu.

Funding for the ongoing pilot programme for 100 girls came from a grant by the US Catena Foundation. Initially, the students learned together, but as they progressed they were streamed by academic achievement. Thirty pupils have successfully passed national exams and are preparing for university this year.

It is a far cry from how they arrived, fearful and distrustful. They struggled to interact or form friendships with other children and often resorted to violence at the slightest provocation. “They only knew how to fight,” says Yakubu Gwadeda, the deputy headteacher.

“They didn’t know how to interact with each other peacefully, how to queue,” he says.

Those who had been involved with Boko Haram, like Hassana, used to try to intimidate their peers with the threat of violence.

“They went through intervention sessions, coping, resilience, expressive therapy,” says the school counsellor, Hauwa Abdullahi Zaifada. “Some could not talk about their experience but we got to hear their stories through drawings and music.

“Sometimes,” she adds, “they would come to the sessions and not say a word, and we would have to reschedule.”

One of Zaifada’s primary goals was to overcome Boko Haram’s indoctrination against education. She found an opportunity when several girls spoke of their desire for revenge against those who had killed their parents or exploited them.

“I told them that you don’t have to be a soldier or hold a gun for revenge,” Zaifada says. “Education can be their revenge.

“They realised that education is valuable and can help them. That’s how they started picking up in school and doing well.”

Falmata Mohammed Talba, 20, found the daily therapy at school so beneficial that she began replicating the sessions with her two brothers, who attend a government-run school.

She helped them cope with the trauma they collectively experienced after witnessing their father’s murder by Boko Haram and then being held captive with their mother.

“When I first started, I used to see her one-on-one almost every day for about six months. Sometimes, I would even run out of the class. Talking to the psychologist helped me a lot,” Talba says.

“I helped my brothers the way Lafiya Sarari helped me. I tell my brothers, ‘This is what they told me. Why don’t you too start practising it?’ That’s how they changed.”

Talba says she and her brothers can now openly discuss their father without succumbing to tears or anger. “We now say, ‘Remember this when we were with Dad’, and we can laugh,” she says.

Hassana’s psychological progress has been notable, even though her academic advancement has been slower than that of some of her peers. She still relies on an interpreter to express herself in English.

“My relatives were so worried about my behaviour that whenever I started acting out, they would start shouting out passages of the Qur’an to calm me down,” she says. “But all that has stopped. The nightmares have also stopped.”

Seven years after the launch of Lafiya Sarari, Zaifada still has daily sessions with her students.

“Now I don’t have to look for them. They come to me if they have any issues,” she says. “Most of the issues now are environmental – peer-group influences, family issues.”

As for Usman, the crying has stopped. She smiles broadly as she shares her aspirations of winning a scholarship to study law at Cambridge University.

“I hear it is a good school,” she says.

By Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, The Guardian 

Related story: Nigeria set to recover £6.9m looted during Boko Haram incursions

Monday, February 19, 2024

Nigerian students are no longer interested in studying in the UK, new report finds

Nigerian students are increasingly turning away from pursuing their undergraduate studies in the United Kingdom. Official statistics released last week reveal that the number of applicants from Nigeria has declined by a staggering 46 per cent, more than any other country in the period under review.

According to reports, the notable decrease in applications from Nigerian students is believed to be closely associated with the weakening of the naira and the visa restrictions preventing them from bringing along dependents or close family members to the UK. The report highlighted that Nigerian students had the highest number of dependents brought in by international students as of September 2023.

The Economic Times of India also reported a mirroring trend observed among Indian students who are increasingly losing interest in pursuing their undergraduate studies in the United Kingdom. The report noted that Indian student applications fell by 4 per cent compared to the previous year, amounting to 8,770 applications.

In comparison, Nigerian applications witnessed a sharp decline of 46 per cent, totalling 1,590 applications, more than any other country.

Data from the UK Universities and College Admissions Service (UCAS) on undergraduate student applicants for the 2024-25 academic year also revealed a 1% decline in UK applicants from a year earlier. However, the overall number of applicants remains well above pre-pandemic levels.

"While today's data shows a decline in applications from mature students, which will be more keenly felt in some subjects such as nursing, we know that these applicants are more likely to apply later in the cycle," Dr. Jo Saxton, Chief Executive at UCAS, said.

"For any students who missed the deadline or are still undecided on their next steps into higher education, they can still apply until June 30, and afterwards directly to Clearing, and plenty of choices still remain. There is a wealth of support, guidance, and tips on the UCAS website to help anyone make informed choices about their futures," she added.

In December 2023, the Rishi Sunak-led government announced a review of the Graduate Route visa, allowing graduates to stay and gain work experience in the UK for at least two years after completing their degree. According to experts, potential changes to the UK's visa policy may reduce the appeal of UK universities to overseas students.

By Victor Oluwole, Business Insider Africa

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Thursday, February 1, 2024

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Wednesday, January 24, 2024

UNICEF Urges Immediate Action to Bolster School Safety in Nigeria

Abuja, 24 January 2024 - On this International Day of Education 2024, UNICEF acknowledges the significant progress made in providing access to education for 7.2 million children in humanitarian settings across Nigeria, thanks to collaborative efforts with the government, donors and partners. However, alongside this recognition, the children’s agency highlights the need for concerted efforts to enhance school safety in Nigeria.

A recent evaluation indicates that, on average, only 43% of the Minimum Standards for Safe Schools are being met in about 6,000 assessed schools. This finding particularly highlights challenges in ensuring the safety of school infrastructure and in mitigating risks such as violence, conflict, and natural hazards.

Ms. Cristian Munduate, UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative, notes, “While Nigeria has shown a commitment to creating safe school environments through endorsing the Safe Schools Declaration and developing the Minimum Standards for Safe Schools, there is room for further progress. On this important day, we are reminded of the collective responsibility we share in safeguarding the educational environment for every child.”

The theme of the 2024 International Day of Education, 'learning for lasting peace,' reminds us of all of the crucial role that education plays in promoting peace and stability. It serves as a reminder to all stakeholders – including federal and state governments, development partners, civil society, communities, and educators – of the importance of providing safe, secure learning environments.

“Education is a key driver of gender equality, economic growth, and social development, sadly it remains inaccessible to many Nigerian children. Their educational journey is often disrupted by attacks on communities and schools, including the abduction of students. These challenges are particularly acute for adolescent girls, potentially stalling the progress made in girls’ education in Nigeria.” Munduate added.

Recent attacks on schools, particularly in the North-East and North-West regions in 2021, have led to learning disruptions for over 1.3 million children, necessitating precautionary school closures. This highlights the urgency of addressing school safety comprehensively.

UNICEF calls for a multi-sectoral approach to improve school safety, informed by the performance of states on the Minimum Standards for Safe Schools. This approach should include comprehensive planning, coordination, and adequate resource allocation, especially in states with higher risks.

To complement these efforts, UNICEF emphasizes the importance of alternative learning platforms, such as the Nigerian Learning Passport. This digital platform, with over 750,000 users, offers curriculum-aligned materials and is crucial for ensuring continuity of education, especially during school closures.

UNICEF remains committed to working with the Nigerian government, donors and all partners to ensure that every child has access to a safe, inclusive, and quality education.


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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Video - Graduates from Nigeria turn to creating jobs instead of looking for them

Nigeria has one of the highest unemployment rates globally. College and university graduates regularly find a job market with few opportunities in the West African nation. However, rather than wait for opportunities, many are now starting their own businesses.


Wednesday, October 11, 2023

No evidence president of Nigeria forged college record

There is no evidence that the diploma Nigeria's President Bola Ahmed Tinubu submitted to the country's electoral commission was forged, the BBC's Global Disinformation Team has found.

Allegations that President Tinubu's certificates were faked went viral on social media following the release by Chicago State University (CSU) of his academic records last week.

We have looked at some of the most widely circulated claims.

The release of the president's academic documents is the culmination of a judicial case filed in August by one of his main rivals in February's presidential election, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Mr Abubakar was hoping to have the victor disqualified after accusing him of falsifying the CSU diploma of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration awarded in 1979 that he submitted to the electoral authority (Inec).

To obtain evidence for his case in Nigeria, Mr Abubakar approached a US court in August, requesting it to compel CSU to release Mr Tinubu's academic records through a process called discovery, where the parties exchange information including documents ahead of a trial.

Mr Tinubu's lawyers opposed the discovery application, citing privacy concerns, but the US court decided it should proceed.

The documents requested by Mr Abubakar were:

A copy of any diploma issued by CSU in 1979

A copy of the diploma CSU gave to Mr Tinubu in 1979

Copies of diplomas with the same font, seal, signatures, and wording awarded to other students that are similar to what CSU awarded to Mr Tinubu in 1979
Documents from CSU that were certified by Jamar Orr, who was then a staff member of CSU, in the 12 months from 1 August 2022

In response to request one, CSU submitted seven diplomas covering different disciplines with the names of the students redacted. According to the university's registrar, these diplomas had not been collected by the students.

In response to request two, CSU stated that it could not find the diploma they issued to Mr Tinubu in 1979, because they do not keep copies of diplomas already collected by students.

In response to request three, CSU stated that it produced for Mr Tinubu a replacement diploma dated 27 June 1979. It also released diplomas awarded to other students that bore similar font, seal, signatures and wordings as Mr Tinubu's diplomas.

In response to request four, CSU submitted other academic documents initially attested to and released by Mr Orr.

In line with the judge's ruling, Mr Abubakar's lawyer Angela Liu last week questioned Caleb Westberg, CSU's current registrar, in a deposition.

The BBC was given access to the deposition transcript by Mr Abubakar's spokesperson, Phrank Shaibu.

Some social media users in Nigeria allege that the deposition and the diplomas released by CSU confirm that the diploma submitted to Inec by Mr Tinubu was forged. This claim was also repeated by one of Mr Abubakar's lawyers, Kalu Kalu, at a press conference last week.

We found there was no evidence to support this claim.

The CSU released several diplomas issued between 1979 and 2003. We analysed all of them.

There are three different diplomas for Mr Tinubu that we refer to throughout our analysis:

The original one, from 1979, which he has said in the past was lost when he went into exile in the 1990s

The second one, that he submitted to Inec - supposedly a replacement diploma from CSU (it is similar to diplomas issued by CSU in the 1990s)

Additionally, CSU holds another replacement diploma for Mr Tinubu that they say is probably from the early 2000s that he never collected

The allegations on social media are based on a comparison between the document Mr Tinubu submitted to Inec and the 1979 diplomas released by CSU.

During Mr Westberg's deposition, Mr Atiku's lawyer focused on the copy of the diploma President Tinubu handed to the electoral commission and suggested that it was unlike any of the diplomas released by CSU.

However, while Mr Westberg agreed with Ms Liu that the diploma in question does not look like the samples from 1979, he stated that the certificate actually looks like three of the diplomas CSU released to Mr Abubakar. Our analysis confirms this.

It turns out that the discrepancy in the appearance of the diploma is down to it having been re-issued in the 1990s.

Mr Westberg said the template of CSU's diploma has changed several times over the years. He said any request for a new diploma would resemble the current template at that time, no matter when the student graduated.

As such, if Mr Tinubu had reordered his diploma in the late 1990s, what he would have been given would look like what was obtainable then.

Three of the diplomas dating from the 1990s that CSU submitted were similar to Mr Tinubu's.

One of them, which bears the date 18 December 1998, is identical (aside from the names, class of degree, and dates) to the diploma Mr Tinubu handed over to Inec.

Mr Westberg also stated that CSU does not keep notes of when a graduate asks for the reissuing of a diploma and therefore Mr Tinubu's request for a copy of the diploma was not recorded.

The copy he gave to the election commission had part of the university logo missing, which Mr Westberg said in his deposition was possibly "cut off" when it was photocopied.

We analysed the diploma. It appears in fact that its bottom part was not included during the photocopy process.

The BBC reached out to Mr Tinubu's team to get a copy of the diploma in question. They sent what they said was the only existing copy of the diploma. It is a black and white photocopy identical to what was submitted to Inec.

Another claim, made by a fact-checking organisation in Nigeria, was that the diploma Mr Tinubu submitted was not from CSU as its diplomas do not include the phrase "with honors" under the degree name.

But the BBC found that while this was not reflected in the other diplomas released by CSU, it does appears in Mr Tinubu's diploma issued in the early 2000s, which was authenticated by Mr Westberg during his deposition.

It has the words "with honors" - a match with the diploma with the same detail submitted by the president to Inec.

Mr Westberg said that the school could authenticate this particular diploma because it was still in its possession as it was never picked up.

Not every student graduates from university with honours. Mr Tinubu, as attested to by CSU in several court documents seen by the BBC, did graduate from CSU with honours.

The BBC contacted CSU with questions about its diplomas and it referred us to a statement that read in part: "We are confident and always have been in the veracity and integrity of our records regarding Tinubu's attendance and completion of graduation requirements".

Another allegation making the rounds on social media is that the person who attended CSU with the name Bola A Tinubu is female.

Mr Tinubu attended Southwest College (now known as Richard J. Daley College) before transferring to CSU in 1976. In Southwest's transcript, there is an "F" (for "female") in the column where gender is indicated, leading to claims that it was a woman who attended the school and Mr Tinubu "stole her identity". Mr Atiku's lawyer, Mr Kalu, alluded to this in a press conference last week.

However, in his deposition, Mr Westberg stressed that there was no confusion about the gender of the person who attended CSU as he was a male named Bola A Tinubu. He said the university used other factors other than the name to authenticate the student's identity.

According to him, the Social Security Number (SSN) in the transcript from Southwest College matches what it has in other documents in which the student's gender is clearly marked as male.

However, the released documents did raise questions about Mr Tinubu's birth date and the secondary school he attended.

One of the documents stated that Mr Tinubu attended Government College Lagos in 1970. However, information available on the school website stated that it was only founded in 1974.

Aside from the gender discrepancy, the birth dates in some of the released documents differ from the official birth date of President Tinubu, which is 29 March 1952.

His transcript from CSU has his date of birth as 29 March 1954. His undergraduate admissions application form has his date of birth as 29 March 1955.

Mr Atiku's lawyer said during Mr Westberg's deposition that on the forms submitted to Inec, Mr Tinubu had given his date of birth as 29 March 1952.

Mr Westberg, during cross-examination, responded that the discrepancies could have been due to human error.

We contacted Mr Tinubu's team for comment about these discrepancies and a spokesperson directed us instead to his party - the All Progressives Congress. We then contacted Mr Tinubu's presidential campaign spokesperson Festus Keyamo, who is also a minister in the government. He did not take our calls or respond to our text and WhatsApp messages.

We also sent questions to Mr Abubakar's team. They did not respond.

By Chiagozie Nwonwu & Fauziyya Tukur & Olaronke Alo, BBC

Related story: Opposition claims president Tinubu forged diploma

Friday, October 6, 2023

Opposition claims president Tinubu forged diploma

Nigeria’s main opposition said Thursday it will present new evidence to support its court challenge seeking to overturn this year's presidential election, saying it can show the declared winner provided faked academic credentials to authorities.

President Bola Tinubu forged a diploma from an American university that he presented to Nigeria’s election commission before the February vote and should be removed from office, first runner-up Atiku Abubakar and his lawyer alleged in a briefing with reporters. They cited records obtained from the university in a U.S. court hearing and shared with The Associated Press.

Abubakar previously has argued Tinubu should not be president because the election commission did not follow due process in announcing the winner and Tinubu was not qualified to run, citing allegations of dual citizenship and of a criminal indictment in the United States.

Tinubu has denied those claims. He did not comment on the new allegation, but his spokesman denied it. “A man cannot forge the academic records he possesses,” Temitope Ajayi, Tinubu’s media aide, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The challenge is being closely watched by many Nigerians following a divisive election that saw Tinubu win with less than 50% of the votes, a first in Nigeria’s history.

Abubakar is one of three candidates who are in court seeking to void Tinubu’s election victory.

Kalu Kalu, Abubakar’s lawyer, said they are set to present “fresh evidence” in the case pending before Nigeria's Supreme Court.

“A party at fault cannot be allowed to enjoy the fruit of his illegality,” Kalu said.

No presidential election in Nigeria has ever been voided.

In advancing his court challenge, Abubakar secured an order from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois directing Chicago State University, which Tinubu attended, to release his academic records.

In a transcript of a deposition this week given to AP by Abubakar’s lawyers, and which has not been made available by the court, Caleb Westberg, registrar of the university, confirmed the school “has the original record of Bola Tinubu." But he said he could not confirm the authenticity of the diploma that the Nigerian leader presented to the election commission indicating he graduated in 1979.

“We’re not qualified to verify whether this document (the diploma) is authentic, given that it is not in our possession,” Westberg said.

Asked to confirm that the school “has no record of issuing” the diploma in question, Westberg responded, "Correct."

Alexandre de Gramont, who represented Abubakar in U.S. court, said in a statement that the team got “virtually everything we sought” after a “hard-fought battle to obtain the educational records … which Mr. Tinubu’s lawyers vigorously opposed at every step.”

It is not the first time that a Nigerian leader has been accused of forgery. Muhammadu Buhari, Tinubu’s predecessor, faced similar allegations though they were never proven to be true.

ABC News

Related story: Peter Obi challenges Nigeria's presidential election result in court

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

20,000 to be trained by Google for digital skills in Nigeria

Google plans to train 20,000 Nigerian women and youth in digital skills and provide a grant of 1.2 billion naira ($1.6 million) to help the government's create one million digital jobs in the country, its Africa executives said on Tuesday.

Nigeria plans to create digital jobs for its teeming youth population, Vice President Kashim Shettima told Google Africa executives during a meeting in Abuja. Shettima did not provide a timeline for creating the jobs.

Google Africa executives said a grant from its philanthropic arm in partnership with Data Science Nigeria and the Creative Industry Initiative for Africa will facilitate the programme.

Shettima said Google's initiative aligned with the government's commitment to increase youth participation in the digital economy. The government is also working with the country's banks on the project, Shettima added.

Google director for West Africa Olumide Balogun said the company would commit funds and provide digital skills to women and young people in Nigeria and also enable startups to grow, which will create jobs.

Google is committed to investing in digital infrastructure across Africa, Charles Murito, Google Africa's director of government relations and public policy, said during the meeting, adding that digital transformation can be a job enabler.

By Felix Onuah, Reuters

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Video - Parents face tough times as public universities hike fees in Nigeria

Many Nigerian students, and their parents, are worried they won't be able to complete their education following a decision by public universities to raise fees by 200 percent. The universities say the hike is necessary due to the surge in the cost of living raising the cost of operations.


Thursday, June 15, 2023

Video - President Tinubu says fuel subsidy removal will free up money for education, healthcare in Nigeria

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu defends the recent decision to remove the popular petrol subsidy. Tinubu acknowledged that the move would impose an extra burden on citizens but he maintained that the money saved would be diverted to development projects and improving public services. The subsidy kept petrol prices cheap for decades in Africa's biggest economy but it became increasingly costly for the country.


Friday, June 9, 2023

Video - Parents pay school fees with recyclables in Nigeria

A school in Lagos, Nigeria accepts recyclable trash for tuition. The idea helps keep more children in school while keeping trash off Lagos city streets.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Video - Artist aims to popularize African classical music in Nigeria

Nigerian music has gained wide acceptance both across the continent and around the world. Genres like afrobeat and highlife have remained popular. However, African classical music isn't as well-known. But one Nigerian musician is looking to change that. Struggling Kenya 7s in desperate battle to avoid relegation.


Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Video - Asisat Oshoala football academy grows in strength

Nigerian and African top women's footballer, Asisat Oshoala is giving back to her society in a unique way. In 2022, she launched her foundation, which includes a football academy to empower marginalized girls in Nigeria by giving them access to sports and education.


Friday, January 6, 2023

Video - Braille trained pushing for education for the blind in Nigeria

In Nigeria, an estimated 50 million people have some form of visual disability. Several problems, including lack of access to qualified eye doctors, have impacted effective treatment and job prospects for the blind. But as Tesem Akende reports, one institution is helping to change that.


Thursday, December 1, 2022

Junior schools in Nigeria to teach in local languages, not English

The Nigerian government has approved a new National Language Policy that will mandate the use of local languages as a language of instruction for primary school pupils and remove English.

The policy was announced by Nigeria’s Minister of Education Adamu Adamu on Wednesday after it was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in a meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, local media reported.

“[T]he government has agreed now that, henceforth, instruction in primary schools; the first six years of learning will be in the mother tongue,” the minister was quoted as saying.

English is Nigeria’s official language. It is also the language of instruction in all levels of education.

The objective of the new policy is “to promote, and enhance the cultivation and use of all Nigerian languages,” Adamu said.

There are about 625 local languages in Nigeria, he said, and the policy would be applied nationally.

"Since the first six years of school should be in the mother tongue. Whereby the pupil is, the language of the host community is what will be used,” he explained.

Adamu said that after the exclusive use of local languages for the first six years of school, the mother tongue would then be combined with English at the junior secondary level.

While the new policy has officially taken effect, it is more in principle, the minister added, as full implementation will only happen once more preparatory work has been done.

“Theoretically, this policy starts from today, but the use of mother tongue is exclusive, but we need time to develop the material, get the teachers and so on,” he said on Wednesday.

Al Jazeera

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

WAEC reacts as fire guts Nigerian headquarters

There was early morning fire outbreak at the headquarters of Nigeria’s office of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) on Wednesday, but the examination body has said the situation is under control.

Videos of flames at the WAEC headquarters located in Yaba, Lagos, were in circulation early Wednesday morning with unconfirmed reports suggesting that staffers were trapped in the building.

According to sources, some of the workers and particularly the non-academic staff union members had resumed when the fire incident was observed.

However, no one could ascertain the cause of the outbreak as everyone reportedly scampered for safety.
Situation under control -WAEC

Reacting to the development in a telephone conversation, the Acting Head of the Public Affairs Unit of WAEC, Moyosola Adesina, said the situation was under control.

Mrs Adesina said no one was hurt and that everyone in the building was successfully evacuated by fire fighters.

She said; “Yes, the fire outbreak was noticed at the headquarters this morning and the fire fighters were quickly invited.

“I can confirm to you that everyone in the building was successfully evacuated and that the fire has been put out.”

The spokeswoman said she could not ascertain the cause of the incident yet but that efforts were on to “do that.”

WAEC had on Thursday officially launched a platform for digital certificates but this has been followed by mixed reactions.

While some users of the platform commended the examination body for the innovation, many others have accused it of rip off.

But WAEC said all the identified issues were being looked into for resolutions.

By Mojeed Alabi

Premium Times

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Frustrated Nigerians 'flee' abroad in punishing pre-election brain drain

 Nnamdi Nwaogu, a 44-year-old IT worker, has packed his bags. In Lagos, Nigeria's frenetic commercial capital, galloping inflation and a plunging naira have pummeled his salary.

Nwaogu, like hundreds of other Nigerians, left amid a brain drain that is punishing even for a nation used to losing its young and educated.

"We have serious doubts if this is the time for that hope to blossom," he said before flying to the UK last month.

Nwaogu began a master's degree in England, while his wife, a doctor, will join him in January with their three children.

Departing workers are impacting nearly every sector, stretching a weak healthcare system, forcing employers to recruit on a continuous basis and worsening services from banking to tech.

The phenomenon -- dubbed "japa," meaning "to flee" in Yoruba -- regularly trends on social media. Many cite unprecedented nationwide insecurity, inflation at a 17-year-high and a loss of faith in leaders before the February 2023 presidential election.

"We are witnessing an epidemic of brain drain," said Dr Dare Godiya Ishaya, president of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).

Ishaya said comparatively low pay, workplace assaults and lack of safety – 20 NARD members have been kidnapped this year -- were all reasons members left.

A NARD poll showed that nearly 800 resident doctors had left this year, while 85% of its leadership were planning to leave. The result is hours-long waits at hospitals, he said, doctor burnout and deteriorating care.

Real-time nationwide statistics on those leaving are not available. But British government data showed a 300% increase in Nigerians getting UK work visas in the year to June, to 15,772.

Others are going to Canada, Australia and the United States.

The exodus lead a banking industry group to release a study last month on ways to retain workers, while tech firms such as Yellow Card Financial, a cryptocurrency exchange, told Reuters they had started offering stock options and pay in dollars.

"The competition for talent is only going to get more and more intense," said Yellow Card chief executive Chris Maurice.

The pull from countries grappling with their own worker shortages is aiding the exodus.

One Nigerian accountant who moved to the UK in May said it took her just three months to get offers from two of the Big Four accounting firms; her company, she said, recently doubled its referral fee to 1,000.

Lagos-based consultancy SBM warned that the loss of skilled labour was bound to have a negative economic impact.

For Nwaogu, there is no choice.

"I want to be able to give my children a better quality of life," he said. "I can't get that here."

By Libby George


Related stories: Nigeria suffering from medical brain drain

Middle-Class Emigration affecting skill shortage in Nigeria

Video - Low wages, and lack of infrastructure leading to a "brain drain" in Nigeria's IT sector