Nigeria’s Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau, says the Federal Government was not influenced by private school owners to adopt the September 22 date for secondary and primary schools’ resumption.
The Minister was speaking during a meeting with the House Committee on Education and members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) on the effect of the Ebola Virus Disease and the new resumption date for schools.
The House of Representatives Committee called the meeting due to concerns raised by some parents and groups who have questioned the decision of the Federal Government to have schools resume on September 22.
The Minister of Education explained why the date was selected and also wondered why some associations such as the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) disagreed with the date selected.
“It was a unanimous decision taken after a meeting with all state education commissioners and the health ministry. The ministry also wrote all state governors to give the directive more weight.
“At no point did anybody influence this decision. There were reports that the private sector influenced the decision. That is not true.”
The President of the Nigeria Medical Association, Dr. Kayode Obembe, however, spoke for the doctors.
The leadership of the medical association, which had earlier suggested that schools remained closed until all suspected Ebola cases are cleared, told the committee that the association now had nothing against the new schools’ resumption date announced by the Federal Government.
They, however, emphasized the need to focus on maintaining “highest level of vigilance” in the several entry points, resuscitating the infectious disease hospitals in states and ensuring comprehensive screening of travellers, among others as conditions that must be met by the Federal Government.
The NMA President also said; “All recent travellers to all the provinces of the current endemic countries of the Ebola disease, namely Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Sudan and Gabon, must be carefully scrutinized for the presence of the virus and epidemiologically treated accordingly.”
The Minister then gave assurances that the Federal Government would continue to monitor the situation closely and would not hesitate to take every necessary step to protect the Nigerian child.