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Why we can’t reopen schools yet – FG

The Federal Government of Nigeria says it does not have the confidence yet to proceed with the re-opening of schools in view of the increasing…

The Federal Government of Nigeria says it does not have the confidence yet to proceed with the re-opening of schools in view of the increasing number of COVID-19 infections as released by the National Centre for Disease Control.

The Minister of State for Education, Chief Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said this on Wednesday while fielding questions from State House reporters, after the eighth virtual Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Nwajiuba said the decision of the Federal Ministry of Education to pause schools’ resumption plans and postpone participation in final examinations for secondary school students remained intact.

The minister, who said the ministry was still consulting with stakeholders, added that the West African Examination Council (WAEC) had also started consultations with West African states on a possibility of shifting dates.

He said: “We are still meeting with parents over the decision of the Ministry.

“What the Minister said reflects the true position of the Ministry; we are not confident yet that everywhere is safe, the numbers from the NCDC are still alarming and we have put this before parents and all the stakeholders in the Education ecosystem, we are still meeting with them.

“In fact, there’s a stakeholders’ meeting convened for Monday.

“WAEC on its own part is also negotiating with other West African countries to look at possible shift in date.

“Once they are through with that meeting and hopefully when we are through with the consultation with stakeholders, if there’s any change in the Ministry’s position, we will communicate, but as it stands, the position of the Honourable Minister, as communicated to you last week, remains the position of the Ministry until further evidence to the contrary or further agreements that may alter those arise,” Nwajiuba said.

Last week, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, said Nigerian schools would remain shut and secondary final year students would not write the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) until the Ministry considered it safe for such to happen.

Meanwhile, the Minister said the council approved a memorandum presented by his Ministry for a contract worth N136 million, for the procurement of computers and seats for theatres in auditoriums at the University of Benin. Nwajiuba said the contract would be funded by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).

The Minister of Environment, Muhammad Mahmood, while briefing, said the council approved Solid Waste Management Policy.

It is to provide a framework for a comprehensive integrated solid waste management in which the federal, state and local governments, MDAs, institutions, NGOs will all be part of it.

This was put together by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the Federal Ministry of Environment and other stakeholders.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouk, while presenting the ministerial performance report, said her ministry was being challenged by inadequate funding, office accommodation, the failure of states not living up to their expectations of meeting up with the Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) that signed with them on some of the programmes.

Hajiya Umar-Farouk, who said the ministry carried out all interventions during disasters and COVID-19 palliatives “promptly and timely”, stated that the national social register had been expanded by one million as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

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