COVID-19: Teachers Kick Against FG’s January 18 School Resumption Date
The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) on Thursday cautioned the Federal Government against the January 18 resumption date for schools across the country.
The NUT Secretary-General, Dr Mike Ike-Ene, who stated this in an interview, said there was no need to hurriedly resume, if the rate of COVID-19 infection kept increasing.
The Citizen reports that Ike-Ene stated that if coronavirus infection was increasing,teachers would stay at home.
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 had on December 17 said the country had entered COVID-19 second wave.
On December 21, the PTF, at its press briefing, said the Federal Government had ordered all schools to remain shut until January 18 as part of the efforts to battle COVID-19 second wave.
Ike-Ene explained that it was important to critically study the infection rate as schools awaited the January 18th resumption date given by the Federal Government.
He stated, “I am someone who believes in life and it is when there is life that you can have a proposal. The number we are having shows that this (second wave) is more horrible. If the PTF and the NCDC (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control) are able to tell us about the new discoveries, then we can decide if we should stay at home or resume.
“As for all the COVID-19 protocols, our teachers have been practising them in our schools. That was why WASSCE (West African Senior School Certificate Examination) was held. If they feel this one is more rapid in terms of new infections, it means that teachers will stay at home.
“The Federal Government has said resumption is January 18. Let’s watch out, if by 18th (of January), it keeps increasing, then one will advise that the students should tarry. Let them remain at home. There is no point rushing and risking lives.
“There is no point rushing, although our students have wasted time, I think our students; especially the undergraduates, are in a hurry to go back to school. If the number keeps increasing the way it is, it means we may take some few weeks to look at it properly.”
He also advised that teachers and students should be the first set of people to be considered for the coronavirus vaccines when they arrive in the country.
Ike-Ene said these people were vulnerable and it was important to protect them as they constituted the present and future of Nigeria.
On his part, the National President of the Nigerian Medical Doctors, Prof Innocent Ujah, who said he was aware of a shortage of oxygen in hospitals, urged government to provide the gas in large quantity.
Ujah, in an interview stated that “I am aware of it (shortage of oxygen). Recall that Lagos has established some centres for oxygen. Unfortunately, this disease is coming in various shapes and sizes and the reason is that there were things that we did not know before now because of COVID-19. Government has to respond appropriately by setting up oxygen production centres.
“We need to have oxygen in huge volume. This is in contrast to what we thought were doing before. We need oxygen that will appropriately take care of all the cases that will come to the isolation centres and hospitals.
“ I am aware that some hospitals in Abuja are going to Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital to get oxygen and this is because some of the hospitals don’t even have and those that have are not functional.
“We must ensure that we have enough oxygen, adequatevolume of oxygen because you may not know who will come down, who will need oxygen and those who will not.”
He noted that most state governments had abandoned their functions for the Federal Government .
Ujah stated, “The governors were elected like the President. They cannot continue to depend on the Federal Government. At a point, we were told that health is on the concurrent list and that each state should do its own, but the disappointing thing is that in any situation, the state government will turn to the Federal Government. The question is what are the states doing with their budgets?
Although, some of the states like Lagos, are doing well but the problem is that states should live up to their responsibilities. At the time they were campaigning what did they tell their people?”
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