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COVID-19: We’ll reopen varsities only when it’s safe, FG tells NANS

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Abdullahi Muhammed


The federal government assured the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) that institutions of learning would only be reopened if it is safe to do so. This was disclosed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Control of COVID-19 Mr Boss Mustapha.

NANS had penultimate week stressed the need for government to reopen schools across the country.“Today, the Senior Secondary School Certificate (SSCE) examinations commenced all over the country, like in other West African States, and the PTF is happy to note the high level of compliance with the protocols for the re-opening of exit classes.“It is in this light that we appreciate the call by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) for the reopening of tertiary institutions.

As a listening government, we wish to state that education is topmost in the priority list and the reopening of our institutions remain critical, within set safety parameters,” he said.

The SGF commended the sub-national levels of government for their efforts at advancing the Risk Communication and Community Engagement Strategy.

 “The PTF is happy to note that their ownership of the strategy has manifested in many states establishing sample collection centres in all their Local Government Areas, while those that are yet to do so are also working on it.

“Similarly, the establishment of treatment centres, which is contributing to the high number of discharge cases and reduced fatality, in most Local Government Areas is worth commending.  We are fully in the community spread phase and one of the major measures we can take is to keep testing to detect, detect and treat,” he said.

The SGF also told journalists that all evacuation flights for stranded Nigerians would end on August 22, 2020 after which Airports would be given sufficient time to prepare for reopening.

“Our partners have continued to provide support for our National Response. Over the weekend, the United Arab Emirates presented Nigeria with 7.5 tonnes of medical supplies and also facilitated the return of stranded Nigerians in their country.

“The Nigerian government, wishes to express her appreciation to the government and good people of the United Arab Emirates and its people. The PTF similarly received additional PPEs from the  Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association and Messrs Changzhou Sang Ma Education Foundation, a Chinese company.

“Particularly, we remember with deep sense of gratitude, the immeasurable role the late Mallam Samaila Isa Funtua played in facilitating the donation by a Chinese company. May his soul rest in peace,” he said.

The SGF also condemned the viral social media information alleging payment of money to obtain COVID-19 negative results, saying it was false and distracting. 

“Samples are only collected at designated centres and not at the airports. It is, therefore, inconceivable that test results would be given at the airports where only passports of returnees are collected.

“Let us remember, therefore, that this war can only be won when we individually and collectively take responsibility so that we can return to a life devoid of this pandemic. Comply with the measures. Wear your mask properly, wash your hands regularly, stay away from crowds, maintain social distance and join the campaign,” he said.


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