COVID-19: NUT warns against hasty reopening of schools

By Ummi Ismaeel-Minna

Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), the Niger State branch, has disagreed with the state government’s plan to reopen schools in the wake of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The NUT argued, “Hasty” reopening of schools will not only endanger the lives of teachers but the pupils and other stakeholders hence should be seriously considered to avoid unpredictable consequences.”
After conducting journalists round the union’s ultra-modern state secretariat in Minna, the NUT Principal Assistant Secretary, Comrade Labaran Garba, said that it would be in the best interest of all if government considers the security of pupils and teachers before taking steps to re-open schools.

“There is no need rushing to reopen schools. Though the academic calendar has been altered by Coronavirus pandemic, I believe whatever time lost can still be remedied; but first let us not endanger human lives to the pandemic because we are eager to resume schools.
“Teachers are more prone to contacting Coronavirus because they are closer to the pupils, they are the first that will meet the pupils in the event of either a pupil or teacher coming in contacted with the disease and it will easily spread”.
He further pointed out that a memoranda has been submitted to the state government on steps to take before schools can be reopened to avoid endangering the lives of pupils, teachers and even their family members coming in contact with them.
Garba therefore advised that the government to apart from critically looking into the submission to urgently organize a, “critical stakeholders’ meeting” to fashioning out the best approach that will lead to safe reopening of schools.
Garba, who told journalists that it cost the NUT N150 million to complete and furnish the state secretariat, also wants the state government to consider teachers as part of critical stakeholders that deserved benefiting from palliatives when schools reopen".
The new ultra-modern NUT secretariat is purely funded by teachers themselves through check-off dues.
“This is purely from check-off union dues. We are not indebted to any person or borrowing from any bank but purely efforts by teachers in Niger State.

“We did not collect any bank loan, there is no government intervention of any kind but this edifice was done purely from our own 45% share of members contributions.”

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