The federal government has criticized the decision of the Oyo state government to reopen schools in the state, describing it as insensitive.
Giving a response to the question on Oyo state reopening schools which have been locked down as part of efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus, the minister of state for education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba said such decision is not a sensitive one considering the rising number of infection across the country.
It should be recalled the Oyo state government had announced the reopening of schools on the 29th of June for primary six pupils and students in junior and senior secondary three.
While speaking at a presidential task force on COVID-19 briefing on Monday, he said, “The ministry of education did not give any guideline to Oyo state to reopen schools. We also think that that is a little bit contradictory.”
“However, Oyo state, like all other sub-nationals, have governors and under our constitution, governors are responsible for their states.
“But you must appreciate that the primary purpose of government is the security of its citizens. Security is not only when people start shooting guns at you; public health is key and primary in that primary security delivery.
“And that’s why we are extremely cautious in making any pronouncement around this because the education sector owns the largest number of infrastructure in the country.
“For you to even begin to decide to unroll and unleash this in the public in the face of a pandemic, is, to be the very least, insensitive.”
The minister said further that the country is yet to reach the optimal stage of testing and so cannot predict the direction of the pandemic
“So the least we can do at the moment is to keep our children, our most prized assets, the future of Nigeria, under lock and key first. When we are sure that it’s safe to release them, gladly we will,” he added.
Nwajiuba appealed to parents to remain patient on the reopening of schools, stating that “we don’t want any of our children arriving at doctors’ clinics at all,” he added.