Members of the House of Representatives have disagreed with the Federal Government over its decision to allow schools across the country to resume on Monday, January 18, 2021, amid the growing cases of the second wave of the COVID-19 infections in the country.
The Federal Government had recently reiterated its decision that schools would resume academic activities on Monday.
The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, said after consultations with relevant stakeholders, it was agreed that public and private schools across the country should reopen.
But contrary to Federal Government’s claim, lawmakers said officials of the Ministry of Education did not consult the relevant committees of the National Assembly before arriving at the January 18 resumption date.
In a telephone interview with Punch, Chairman of the House Committee on Basic Education and Services, Prof Julius Ihonvbere, said nobody from the ministry consulted or spoke to him about school resumption.
He said, “They did not consult us; at least in my committee, nobody from the ministry spoke to me. I have been in Abuja. And I am not sure that they spoke to any of my members. They just don’t see us as part of the critical stakeholders.”
Ihonvbere, had in a statement issued in Abuja on Saturday, January 16, 2021, on behalf the House Committee on Education and Service, opposed the Monday resumption date.
The statement titled, “School Resumption: Are We Truly Prepared”, questioned the reason the Federal Government decided to reopen schools at a time the country records over a thousand cases of COVID-19 infections daily.
The statement reads, “The Committee on Basic Education and Services, House of Representatives, has received with concern the decision of the Federal Government to reopen schools on January 18, 2021.
“We are particularly concerned that when the infection rates hovered around 500 and under, schools were closed; but now that it hovers well above 1,000 infections daily, schools are being reopened. Why are we rushing to reopen schools without adequate verifiable and sustainable arrangements to protect and secure our children?”
Ihonvbere, therefore, demanded that the school resumption date be postponed for three months to enable government and schools to put necessary measures in place in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines.