COVID-19: ASUU warns govt against reopening universities

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ASUU President, Prof Ogunyemi

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says Nigerian public universities are not ready for reopening after the union assessed the level of adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

Recall that the National Universities Commission (NUC) directed universities in the country to resume by January 18.

However, the commission said that universities must safeguard lives by strictly adhering to the extant safety protocols and guidelines of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, which have been communicated severally to them.

ASUU said that although its members were ready to resume work, government was yet to put the necessary safety protocols in place.

The Chairman of ASUU in Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Osun State, Dr Adeola Egbedokun, said, “COVID-19 is very real and this second wave is as real as described. We cannot afford to toy with our health and the health of our dear students in the name of resumption, which is politically motivated.

“There are no preparations for safe re-opening of the universities and I think parents must insist on safe re-opening.

“The current classroom and hostel configurations in our universities do not in any way conform with the PTF (Presidential Task Force) on COVID-19 protocols.

“There is no way universities can achieve that. I have said this elsewhere, that rather than for government to have addressed the obvious deficits in the public universities during the lockdown and strike, they were playing to the gallery.”

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Countering the narrative, spokesman of the university, Abiodun Olanrewaju said OAU was ready to resume, adding that the university had put in place a lot of measures to conform with COVID-19 protocols.

The ASUU unit at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi State reported a similar situation as reported by the OAU unit.

Chairman of the unit, Dr Musa Babayo said, “The coast is now very clear since has ASUU suspended its strike and it has gone further to show how government and institutions are not serious in the handling of the universities, particularly the issues of COVID-19.

“When you talk about ATBU and resumption whether ASUU is satisfied, I can tell you that we have yet to see any tangible improvement, whether in hostel accommodation, classrooms and other things needed for COVID-19 protocols.”

However, the spokesman of the university, Abdulkadir Shehu noted that the institution has yet to announce a time for students to resume.

Despite this, he said, “Yesterday (Saturday) fumigation of the school at both the Yelwa and Gubu campuses commenced and it will soon be concluded.”

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