Malam Adamu Adamu, Honourable Minister for Education

COVID-19: ASUU warns government against reopening of Universities

*With lack of steady water supply, electricity, overcrowded class, poorly spaced hostel rooms, libraries, laboratories and staff offices, which of our universities satisfy the requirements for physical distancing? Asks ASUU Zonal Coordinator

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

For umpteen times amid the disruptive novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country, the Academic Staff Union of Union of Universities (ASUU) has cautioned the Federal Government against reopening universities to avoid spike in the number of cases of the pandemic in Nigeria.

Prof. Abdulkadir Muhammad, Acting Zonal Coordinator, ASUU Kano Zone, said this at a press conference in the state Tuesday, September 1.

Muhammad warned the government to not succumb to pressures especially from private universities whom it said were ‘out of business and eager to open shops’.

The don, however, declared that it would resist any attempt by the Federal Government to reopen universities until all the necessary conditions that would guarantee the safety of ASUU members and students were put place.

The Acting Zonal Coordinator said: “Let me make it very categorically clear that the union is not averse to opening of public universities.

“But before doing that, government must provide all the necessary conditions that will make it safe and conducive for our members and students to avoid a spike in the cases of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The nation’s universities lacked the necessary equipment and facilities to cope with COVID-19 protocols for schools resumption as outlined by the NCDC (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control).”

Muhammad explained that the outbreak of Coronavirus in the country has exposed the infrastructural deficit not only in the universities but in other sectors of education in Nigeria.

He stated: “This is as a result of continuous refusal of Government to heed to ASUU calls for proper funding of our universities to make them globally competitive since 2019.

“It was also a known fact that with almost lack of or erratic internet supply and the high cost of data which make it expensive for students, the much talked about virtual teaching in the country is far from a reality.

“With lack of steady water supply and electricity, overcrowded class, poorly spaced hostel rooms, libraries, laboratories and staff offices, which of our universities will satisfy the requirements for social distancing?”

He said the experience of other countries with even better facilities that have opened and later closed due to spike in COVID-19 cases should guide our thoughts or next line of action.

He said: “We, therefore, urged the Federal Government not to succumb to pressures from private universities who were ‘out of business and eager to open shops’.”

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