President Goodluck Jonathan has given reasons why nursery, primary and secondary schools should resume on September 22, while also begging the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) not to embark on strike over the resumption date.
Addressing the State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday, September 16, Jonathan said the country had successfully managed the outbreak of Ebola and there is presently no case to keep school children at home unnecessarily, Punch reports.
The president explained that the continued stay of school children at home would send the wrong signals to the international community about the Ebola situation in Nigeria.
“Our athletes were segregated in China, they had to returned to the country. A place like China asked Ministers of the Federal Republic to show prove of Ebola free certificate, very discouraging. And what people don’t know is that as long as you close your institutions because of Ebola, the ambassadors that are here with us and the high commissioners send what you call dispatches to their home states about what is happening in our country monthly.
“As long as we Nigerians close all our public institutions because of Ebola, the dispatch that goes to the whole world is that Ebola is a problem in Nigeria. And as long as we declare that Ebola is a problem in Nigeria, any Nigerian that travels out will be treated as someone that has Ebola.
“We have been able to manage Ebola and the whole world is happy with us and we must tell the whole world that we have managed Ebola and no Nigerian should be segregated because of Ebola. If we still have Ebola definitely we will not open any of our institutions but we don’t have Ebola.”
He said rather than embark on strike, the NUT should commend government on its handling of the outbreak of the Ebola disease.
President Jonathan gave the assurance that measures had been put in place to avert the importation of the disease into the country as in the case of the late Patrick Sawyer (the index case) who brought from Liberia into Nigeria.
It would be recalled that the Federal government’s directive for nursery, primary and secondary schools to resume on September 22, 2014 had sparked controversy in various quarters.
Nigerian doctors were opposed to the resumption date, saying all schools should not resume until all those who are under surveillance for the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country had been certified free.
The Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) even directed its members to ignore the September 22, resumption date as directed by the Federal government.