Nigeria: Why We Can't Reopen Schools Now - Govt

Social distancing is one of the proven measures to limit the spread of coronavirus, so we must learn to change our behaviour to save lives.

The Federal Government says it cannot reopen schools now as it is not yet safe to do so.

The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said this in Abuja on Monday during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

He described as fake, reports that the government would reopen schools on June 21.

He said: "Any reopening of school would involve the advice of expert on when it is safer to reopen schools.

"This is to avoid the mistake of shipping the students in and out of school."

He said the ministry would not lead Nigerians into danger because it was in a hurry to reopen schools.

"I'll not want to experiment with your children.

"What we're planning is to bring those that'll be exiting from Junior Secondary to Senior and those who will be writing the West Africa Examinations Council to write their promotion exams.

"We're, however, looking at when the interstate lockdown will be reopened so the children can move to write their exams in their schools," he said.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and PTF Chairman, Boss Mustapha, said Nigeria would not hastily reopen schools in order to avoid severe consequences that happened to other countries.

He cited South Korea that reopened the schools and had to shut them again when the cases spiked.

"There was also the recent case of Israel that also reopened the schools and shut them again.

"So, we should learn from what's happening to others," he added.

'Southeast Nigeria not testing enough for COVID-19'

Mustapha said the southeast was not doing much testing, thus could not allow the taskforce to understand the extent of the spread of the virus there to make for adequate planning and provisions.

"Of about 76, 800 plus of the number of tests we've conducted, when I looked at the 5 south-eastern states, they accounted for just 1,625 as of June 1.

"That number is an indication of under-testing and it's a message that should go out to all the states. Do not under-test because when it'll blow up on your face, you'll get overwhelmed.

"So, begin to search now and test so that you know what eventually might come your way and you begin to prepare for it.

"For all the states that have not been ramping up their tests, my advice to them is: ramp up your tests, test, test and test," he urged.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, said about 3.6 million vulnerable Nigerians were now on the National Social Register.

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