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COVID-19: ASUU kicks against reopening of schools

Biodun Ogunyemi

The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Monday kicked against the reopening of schools by the Federal Government due to the COVID-19 pandemic currently ravaging the country.

Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU National President, spoke with the with News Agency of Nigeria in Ota, Ogun State.

According to him, the Federal Government needed to address the challenges of the education sector before it can talk of reopening schools.

Ogunyemi urged the Federal Government to provide ideal environment and take the lead by meeting the conditions spelt out by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control before reopening schools.

He said: “The Federal Government must lead and show the ways by meeting the conditions for reopening of schools before any school can be allowed to open because COVID-19 pandemic is a health challenge.

“When it comes to public health, it is something that should not be left in the hands of individuals, but the Federal Government must take the lead.”

The ASUU president listed the conditions spelt out by NCDC to include: provision of materials for regular washing of hands, face mask, isolations centres, space for social distancing and hands sanitiser.

Ogunyemi said many of the schools do not have financial capacities to meet those conditions and requirements for the reopening of schools.

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He said: “It is suicidal to reopen schools now, if the Federal Government itself could not meet the conditions spelt out by NCDC and World Health Organisation.

“The nation will expose the innocent children to risks, which is avoidable.”

Ogunyemi wondered that how many of these schools could afford to provide hand sanitiser, saying that many of them do not even have running water, not to talk of having facility for washing hands.

He added that many schools do not have enough spaces to promote physical distancing.

The ASUU president said that putting all these requirements needed together to reopen schools in the country now would run to millions of Naira, which most schools could not afford.

Ogunyemi appealed to the Federal Government to provide the running funds for the principals and head teachers so that they could provide some of these facilities in their schools.

He further said inadequate funds by many parents would hinder them from providing some of these amenities needed for reopening of schools.

Ogunyemi said the Federal Government needed to tell Nigerians the steps they intended to take in reopening schools.

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N50,000, N30,000 To Be Distributed Among 433,000 Nigerians, Businesses By FG

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Tola Johnson, Special Assistant to  President Muhammadu Buhari on Micro Small and Medium and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs), says 100,000 small businesses will get N50,000 each.

NAN reports that the gesture is part of COVID-19 economic stimulus.

The presidential aide made the announcement at the inauguration of the Implementation of Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-Take Stimulus Schemes for MSMEs on Thursday in Abuja.

Johnson, the Project Coordinator, said that the schemes were part of the Economic Sustainability Plan drafted by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo-led committee and approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The Payroll Support targets 100,000 businesses. However, the number of individuals who will benefit from this is 500,000. What the government has done is to say that there a lot of MSMEs that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

“Afterward, there is a CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission) free registration; it is free for the MSMEs but the government is paying the CAC for this. What the government has done is to say to the CAC, you do this regularly to the MSMEs at about N12,000 or thereabout; give it to us at half price, we will give it to the MSMEs free.’’

Johnson added that under the National MSMEs Clinic, Osinbajo and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment went to no fewer than 26 states.

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He said it was discovered that very creative businesses were not registered.

“They will tell you they don’t have N10,000 to N12,000 to register their businesses. The government had promised that at some point, we will do and I think the opportunity has come now; the opportunity cannot be better than now.’’

The official also announced that under the Survival Fund, the last strap would be the Transport and Artisans Support.

At least 333,000 beneficiaries will get a one-off N30,000 grant, Johnson said.

He added that the government will work with associations, individuals and the Ministry of Transportation to implement the scheme.

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