Nigeria’s Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, says tertiary institutions, shut in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic in March, will reopen “very soon”.
Speaking during a Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) programme on Saturday, August 22, 2020, Nwajiuba said the federal government is also working to end the ongoing strike embarked by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
“Tertiary institutions across the country will open very soon,” he said.
“Private universities have written to us, requesting that they are allowed to reopen ahead of public institutions. Vice-chancellors have also requested that we allow them to reopen for their students in exit classes.
“We have also a lot of calls from bodies who want us to resolve the industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities before reopening because some public schools which are not ASUU-prone want to take the advantage of the strike to move ahead, but that would destroy our public schools. So, we are working on all these calls.”
The minister added that the National Universities Commission (NUC) will carry out an appraisal of the state of tertiary institutions ahead of the reopening.
“We are waiting for the same from other tertiary institutions bodies so I can situate them and present to the PTF on COVID-19,” he said.
“I can’t give the NUC a deadline on this because our job at the ministry is to wait for their inputs. This is not a political decision alone.
“If you open the university system, you have opened the country.”
Nwajiuba appealed to ASUU to call off their strike because their grievances “have more or less been resolved."
Nigeria has reported 51,905 COVID-19 cases, 38,767 recoveries and 997 fatalities as of August 22, 2020.