By Emmanuel Adesuji, Abuja.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) on Tuesday advised the Federal Government to shelve the September 22 resumption date for schools nationwide.
Rising from its emergency National Executive Council (NEC) in Abuja, the body consequently directed its members nationwide not to resume on the said date until the safety of the students and staff could be guaranteed.
Addressing newsmen after the meeting, the National President of NUT, Comrade Michael Olukoya, demanded for renewed assurances that all templates and precautionary measures against the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) have been put in place.
The NUT described as hasty, the decision to reopen schools when it was obvious that all the required preventive and protective gadgets such as hand gloves, sanitizers, infra-red thermometers, running water and soaps have not been provided as directed by government.
Also, the Union insisted that the decision to reopen schools was as a result of the pressure from private school owners without regard for the safety of the students and teachers.
Olukoya said, “It is the considered opinion of the NUT that the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Health in conjunction with states and local government councils should use this period of schools closure to mount intensive programmes for all teachers of Nigeria aimed at getting them properly prepared and equipped to tackle the EVD situation when schools resume, to avoid any possible spread of the disease to our schools.
“The Union offers itself at this point to assist in mobilizing the teachers for the task. Government should also use this opportunity to secure adequate sanitizers and body temperature scanners for all schools in the country. The dream of the union is to see all things put in place to protect the teachers and school children from being infected in the schools.
“We use the date of 13th October, 2014 without being unmindful of the recent decision of government to open schools on 22nd September 2014 based on their perception that all is well in Nigeria concerning the EVD scourge. NUT is strongly of the opinion that it is better to delay the resumption of school till 13th, October, 2014, even when the scourge would have been off months ago than rush and open schools only to be faced with attacks of EVD in the schools.
“In states where teachers have been trained to handle any outbreak and all the required preventive and protective gadgets such as hand gloves, sanitizers, infra-red thermometers, running water and soaps have not been provided, teachers shall continue to remain at home until their state governments respond positively.
“Any state branch of the NUT which gives the national council conflicting report, we shall not fail to mete out sanctions”.
On the plan to scrap Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), the NUT said, “This attempt at scrapping TRCN shows clearly that the federal government does not care about the standard of teachers of Nigeria and the much sought-for professionalism of the teaching industry.
“The teachers of Nigeria are watching this development with keen interest with a view to returning to the trenches of 1992 and 1993 as they will not just fold their hands and watch the bastardization of their profession”