The drama over the closure of primary and secondary schools and the proposed Sept. 22nd resumption date is not over as President Jonathan tackles NUT head-on.
President Goodluck Jonathan has thrown his weight behind the September 22nd date set for the resumption of private and public schools in Nigeria, even as the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) threatens industrial action.
Jonathan told journalists as at the Presidential Villa in Abuja that the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has been contained and is 'no longer a threat in Nigeria'.
"Ebola is no longer a threat in Nigeria and we must tell the world that we have been able to contained Ebola,” he said.
The President said the government has put in place measures, in line with global standards to put the virus in check, adding that the continuous closure of schools sends out a wrong signal of the EVD situation.
"If we still have Ebola definitely we will not open any of our institutions but we don’t have Ebola.
“We have been able to manage Ebola and the whole world is happy with us and we must tell the whole world that we have managed Ebola and no Nigerian should be segregated because of Ebola.”
Noting that other countries affected by the EVD have not closed down their academic institutions, Jonathan said the NUT should reconsider its threat.
"I dare ask is NUT saying that until the world is able to end Ebola is Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone before Nigeria should open our institutions? It is not right.
Government is not a fool, it is not any labour body that asked us to take that decision, we took it because we felt that we must protect our citizens.”
The issue of the resumption date has been argued back and forth over the past few weeks with some states opting to close schools and some tertiary institutions staying closed or testing their students.
It will be recalled that the Minister of Education, Onyebuchi Chukwu, last Saturday said it doesn’t "make any sense" to keep schools closed, following news of a plan by the House of Representatives to review the September 22nd date.
Also, earlier this week, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) agreed to the date but gave a set of conditions that must be met.