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  • Updated: January 17, 2021

COVID-19: Reps Asks FG To Shift Schools Re-Opening

The House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Services has asked the President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government to shift the re-opening of school by three months.

Making this call in a statement on Saturday, Julius Ihonvbere the chairman of the committee explained that a majority of schools were yet to put in place adequate measures to check the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: FG To Review School Re-Opening Date

Ihonvbere who wondered why the government was in a rush to re-open schools without arrangement to protect and secure the students, pointed out the need for the country to design a way to live with the virus.

 “We are particularly concerned that when the infection rates hovered around 500 and under, schools were closed but now that it hovers well above 1,000 infections daily, schools are being reopened," he said.

"Why are we rushing to reopen schools without adequate verifiable and sustainable arrangements to protect and secure our children?"

Decrying the rate at which Nigerians now flout COVID-19 guidelines, Ihonvbere said: “Aside Lagos and a couple of other states governments are unable to enforce COVID-19 protocols. People no longer wear facemasks or use sanitisers."

According to him, not up to 10 per cent of Nigeria's institution had implemented 5 per cent of the COVID-19 protocols

“Our position is that in spite of the very comprehensive protocols established by the Federal Ministry of Education, not up to 10 percent of our educational institutions have implemented five percent of the protocol," he wrote.

He further revealed that most primary and secondary schools lacked basic facilities to help student and staffs of the schools observe COVID-19 protocols.

Pointing out that poor parents unable to afford facemask and other COVID-19 combatants will be needing support from the government, Ihonvbere stated that the government made provisions for them.

“We doubt that teachers, instructors and school managers have been adequately trained and prepared to handle COVID-19 safety protocols," the lawmaker said.  

"We also know that adequate funds have not been provided to schools to cope with demands that accompany the new normal."

Further challenging the Federal Ministry of Education to first independently monitor, the level of compliance to protocols in schools, Ihonvbere advised against relying on reports of state and local authorities to re-open schools.

“The lives of our children are worth much more than the interests and comfort of any politician or bureaucrat. It is only after a minimum 75 percent nationwide compliance that we can seriously talk about reopening schools,” he concluded.

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Chukwuemeka Joseph
Chukwuemeka Joseph

Joseph Chukwuemeka Ayo is a journalist, who has a great interest in investigative reporting. He i...

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