The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has warned the federal government against the dangers of reopening schools so soon over the COVID-19 threat.
ASUU national president, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, who gave the warning during a media chat, said the federal government needs to address the challenges of education sector before it can talk of reopening schools.
Ogunyemi, called on the federal government to provide ideal environment and should take the lead by meeting the conditions spelt out by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) before reopening schools.
“The Federal Government must lead and show the ways by meeting the conditions for reopening of schools before any school can be allowed to open, because COVID-19 pandemic is a health challenge.
“When it comes to public health, it is something that should not be left in the hands of individual, but the Federal Government must take the lead,’’ he said.
According to the ASUU president, conditions spelt out by NCDC include: provision of materials for regular washing of hands, face mask, isolations centres, space for social distancing and hands sanitiser.
Mr Ogunyemi also noted that many of the schools do not have financial capacities to meet those conditions and requirements for reopening of schools.
“It is suicidal to reopen schools now, if the Federal Government itself could not meet the conditions spelt out by NCDC and World Health Organisation (WHO).
“The nation will expose the innocent children to risks which is avoidable,” he said.
Mr Ogunyemi expressed concerns on how many schools could afford to provide hand sanitisers, saying that many of them do not even have running water, not to mention having facilities for washing hands.
He added that many schools do not have enough spaces to promote physical distancing.
The ASUU president said that putting all these requirements needed together, to reopen schools in the country now would run to millions of Naira, which most schools could not afford.
Mr Ogunyemi appealed to the federal government to provide the running funds for the principals and head teachers so that they could provide some of these facilities in their schools.
He further said that inadequate funds by many parents would hinder them from providing some of these amenities needed for reopening of schools.
Mr Ogunyemi said that the federal government needs to tell Nigerians the steps they intend to take in reopening schools.