“There is also this argument that keeping them at home does not give them 100% protection but it minimizes the danger than throwing them to an area where only God knows what is going on,” Odugbemi said on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
His comments come against the backdrop of the scheduled January 18 resumption of schools across the country.
However, with the fast-rising second wave of the virus, the Federal Government says it is reviewing the date.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, stated this on Monday at the resumed briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja.
This comes few weeks after the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) ‘conditionally’ suspended its strike, ending a protracted industrial action that started in March.
On Tuesday, the leadership of the union insisted that Nigerian universities are not ready to re-open.
Deputy Chairman, Alliance for Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond, (ASCAB), Sina Odugbemi, has challenged the Federal Government to do better in its handling of COVID-19 cases in the country.
Narrating a personal experience, Odugbemi said he had run a test and three months after, he was yet to receive the results.
“In the heat of the pandemic, there was a suspicion of somebody having COVID-19 in my office and the decision was to get to the nearest hospital and check yourself. And the person tested positive so there was pandemonium in my office and everybody had to go and take the test,” he said on Tuesday in an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
“I was at Ifako center and my sample was taken and sincerely I’ve taken the test for three months now and there is no result and if you ask many other Nigerians they will tell you their experience is not far from that.”
With a second wave of the pandemic hitting many countries across the globe including Nigeria, Odugbemi believes that the government lacks proper preparation to be able to handle the virus. He believes that compared to other countries, Nigeria’s approach has been below average.
“Here, we don’t think ahead of time. We don’t anticipate the capacity of the pandemic. Everyday we count numbers of deaths all around the world and this has to be very instructive to us as a nation.
“And I feel that generally, we have scored below average.
“When the pandemic started, we saw a lot of centres springing up where people could go. But now they have disappeared. We need to up our game as a people. We need to take this thing very seriously,” he added.
So far Nigeria has recorded a total of 101,331 cases, while 1,361 have died.
On a positive note, however, 80,491 have been successfully treated and discharged from isolation centers.
The killings in Kaduna has the potential of leading to a round of national crisis that may threaten the fabric of democracy in the country, the Alliance for Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond, (ASCAB) warned on Sunday.
The coalition of labour and over 80 civil society groups also blamed the Federal Government for the mayhem adding that the central authority has the constitutional responsibility to ensure the protection of lives and properties everywhere in the country.
It said the mayhem in Kaduna only reflects the community version of the growing culture of brigandage within the political class.
Last Friday scores of people were killed in Southern Kaduna by armed groups. Katsina, Zamfara and many States on North Central have seen a string of bloodletting in recent months.
On Sunday, the killings in Southern Kaduna continued. At 6am Fanstwam natives of Zipkak, a semi-urban town in Fanstwam Chiefdom, Jemaa LGA in Southern Kaduna, fled their homes when armed groups invaded their communities again.
The killings did not abate inspite of curfew impose in the area by the State Government to curb revenge killings among the multi-ethnic Southern Kaduna territories.
The latest incidence took place in Zikpak, some two kilometres away from Kafanchan where a large consignment of soldiers is camped.
ASCAB in a statement signed by its Chairman, Mr Femi Falana, (SAN) on Sunday said it is undoubtedly clear that the Federal Government has shown a lack of capacity to deal with the sad events.
Falana said the Federal Government appears to be running out of ideas in bringing an end to violence and armed brigandage constantly recorded in Kaduna and other affected states.
It said the violence in the North East has spread to the North Central and the North West warning that if unchecked, it might threaten peace and coexistence across the country and set the nation on the path of ruin
“Corruption, politics of exclusion, growing unemployment, and lack of creativity continue to fuel public resentment across the country backed by an increasing breakdown of public trust in those holding public officers. The situation has been compounded by weak institutions and inept leadership both at the state and national levels” ASCAB said.
It said the lack of opportunities, poverty, and the imposition of tough economic measures on Nigerians are partly responsible for prejudices, hate, and expression of violence found in many communities in Nigeria.
“Nigeria is fast becoming a state of blood where human lives no longer matter. It is unfortunate that while the Federal Government invests billions of naira in the procurement of arms to fight violence, it has failed to develop an appropriate economic roadmap to deal with one of the root causes of violence which is poverty.”
It also warned that unending violence and banditry will help the spread of coronavirus thereby putting the lives of many people in the North in danger.
“Violence and killings have seen the emergence of several refugee camps and the flee of health workers in vulnerable communities. Territories ravaged by killings will naturally disregard the rules necessary for the prevention of COVID-19. This only means that as long as instability continues, the prospect of livelihood and effective public health protection is dim.”
It said it is public knowledge that many states in the country including Katsina where President Mohammadu Buhari comes from are at the mercy of terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, and criminal gangs.
It said that though the Federal Government continuously assures Nigerians of the safety of lives and property, the guarantee has become a mirage in the face of ceaseless attacks.
The group said the country has continued to witness massacres of defenseless citizens and that the number of arms in the hands of non-state actors is alarming.
“Several survivors are currently in IDPs. These include children and women. These children are denied education and the basic necessities of life necessary for their growth in the first years of their lives.”
ASCAB said many Nigerians are fleeing to the neighbouring African States due to the fact that their homeland has failed to procure peace for them.
It condemned the statement credited to the Federal Government that “From available security records, the problem in Southern Kaduna is an evil combination of politically-motivated banditry, revenge killings and mutual violence by criminal gangs acting on ethnic and religious grounds”. It described such statements by the FG as an indication that those in power are not in touch with the people.
ASCAB said since President Mohammadu Buhari is the Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed forces, the President is under a legal obligation to end the violence.