COVID-19: It’s Not Safe To Reopen Universities Now – ASUU

Biodun Ogunyemi 300x180 - COVID-19: It’s Not Safe To Reopen Universities Now – ASUU

The Federal Government was on Monday warned by the Academic Staff Union of Universities over the plan to reopen tertiary institutions without taking concrete steps to curb the spread of Coronavirus.

The union noted that such an attempt without appropriate measures put in place will be suicidal.

ASUU in its statement noted that the federal government should be ready for any possible negative consequences following its plan to reopen tertiary institutions.

The Lagos Zone of union raised this warning while addressing journalists at a press conference held at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.

The zonal coordinator of ASUU, Prof. Olusiji Sowande, lamented that the government made arrangements for special bailout funds for airline operators and other private entities but did not extend the same arrangement to public universities.

He further stated that it is not enough to instruct students to resume back on the campuses but that the atmosphere and conditions must also be right.

According to the Coordinator who was flanked by the branch chairmen of the zonal and other officials, accommodations are inadequate, no facility on the ground to carry out physical distancing in large and crowded classes.

He added that water and electricity supply are not reliable in the universities.

He declared that years of neglect of both the education and health sectors in the country has resulted in inadequate infrastructure and lack of well equipped diagnostic, testing, treatment, and research laboratories in both sectors.

Sowande said “The response of the public universities to the call by the National University Commission for their readiness to reopen indicated that public universities are not ready.”

“Presently, hostel accommodations are inadequate, no facility on the ground to carry out physical distancing in large and crowded classes, water and electricity supply are not reliable, etc.”

“Reopening tertiary institutions without taking concrete steps to address these issues would be suicidal. While the government made arrangements for special bailout funds for airline operators and other private entities, no such arrangement was made for public universities.”

“Therefore, the government should be ready to take responsibility for any possible negative consequences after the reopening of universities.”

Sowande while speaking on the ongoing strike said the union had written to relevant government agencies with a view to finding steps to putting an end to the industrial action.

He said “It seems to us that some government officials are benefiting from the prevailing situation. We demand that the OAGF must immediately remit all illegally withheld check-offs and other third party deductions with accrued interests.”

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