By Ismail Auwal
The Federal Government on Monday said it does not support the resumption of schools on January 18 and the date could be reviewed again.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said the Federal Government did not agree with the states on the resumption date.
“We sat down, looked at the figures and we took the decision that schools should not open.
“Unfortunately, we have to state this because it is supposed to be a collective decision, but you must understand that the schools we’re talking about, the Federal Government has only about 100 out of thousands of schools.
“The schools are under the jurisdiction of states and just as the PTF was unanimous in saying that schools should not open, states were unanimous that schools should open.
“So, we have to compromise and as PTF we shall monitor what is happening on a daily basis. There could be some review again,” Adamu said.
It will be recalled that last Thursday, the spokesman of the Ministry of Education, Ben Goong, had said in a statement that “after extensive consultations with relevant stakeholders, including state governors, commissioners of education,
proprietors and heads of institutions, staff unions and students, the consensus of opinion is that the resumption date of 18th January should remain.”
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and PTF Chairman, Boss Mustapha, also said the school resumption would be reviewed due to rising daily numbers of infections and the challenges of case management, especially the shortage of oxygen.
Mustapha warned Nigerians to cooperate with the PTF to avoid a second lockdown in the country.
He said: “The pandemic is raging and all tiers of government and citizens must keep their hands-on-deck.
“We’re in a difficult situation in which a balance must continue to be struck between lives and livelihood.
“We’re considering all options while hoping that broad cooperation will be received.
“We must do everything possible to avoid a second lockdown in Nigeria.”
He said the PTF was proceeding with the next phase of the approved presidential sanction against all in-bound international travelers that failed to undergo the day-7 post arrival test.
He said the PTF would ensure that the vaccines to be approved would be safe and effective.
“We must however work together as foot soldiers in the vaccine advocacy so that we can eliminate the pandemic.
“The PTF wishes to emphasize that the success of our national response shall not depend on vaccines alone.
“Rather, compliance with the non-pharmaceutical protocols must remain top on our individual priorities.”
He said the PTF had authorized the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to immediately implement the 450 tests per local government area plan nationwide.