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COVID-19: FG to NANS: Varsities will reopen when nation is on safe mode

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The Federal Government says schools including tertiary institutions will reopen as soon as it is safe to stave off the spread of COVID-19.

The government spoke on Monday against the backdrop of call by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) for the reopening of schools nationwide.

The Chairman of Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 pandemic and  Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, said this on Monday at the PTF media briefing.

“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 on the priority list and the reopening of our institutions remain critical, within set safety parameters,” the government scribe said.

Persecondnews recalls that NANS had two weeks ago asked the government to take appropriate steps to remedy the  continued closure of schools amid COVID-19 situation and ensure a seamless running of the system in the new normal.

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

He said: “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.”

On evacuation of stranded Nigerians abroad, he said the flights would end on  August 22 after which airports will be given sufficient time to prepare for the commencement of international flights.

“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 the Chinese company. May his soul rest in peace.”

Mustapha also condemned posts on the social media alleging collection of  money for COVID-19 negative results, describing the claim as false and distracting.

“For the benefit of all Nigerians and has been explained previously, by the DG, NCDC, 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.

“It is disturbing to realise that while a good number of Nigerians are sharing their experiences with the coronavirus and encouraging others to take responsibility, some very few Nigerians are bent on spreading misleading information.

“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,” the SGF stressed.

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