COVID-19: Despite Calling off 9-Month Strike Universities Unsure of Resumption Dates

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On November 27, national President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU), Professor Biodun Ogunyemi called off its 9-month strike aimed at exempting members from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) introduced by the Federal government to promote transparency and accountability pending the approval of its proposed payment system – the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) in a press conference held at Abuja.

Initially, the resumption date slated for secondary schools in Nigeria was 4th of January but later changed until 18th of January due to the second wave of the coronavirus. The National Universities Commission(NUC) would go on to direct tertiary institutions to re-open academic activities on the same day. However, Minister for Education, Adamu Adamu, while briefing the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 in Abuja on Monday, said the resumption date for schools across the country was being reviewed.

When we decided on that date, it was just a target toward what we are working on. Of course, we are keeping it in view and looking at what is happening in the society and then it is supposed to be subject to constant review. When we decided on that date, it was just a target toward what we are working on. Of course, we are keeping it in view and looking at what is happening in the society and then it is supposed to be subject to constant review.

Two days ago, a few chapters of ASUU stated that universities were unprepared for resumption claiming the federal government had not put measures in place for the safe reopening of the schools.

There are no preparations for safe re-opening of the universities and I think parents must insist on safe re-opening. The current classroom and hostel configurations in our universities do not in any way conform with the PTF (Presidential Task Force) on  COVID-19 protocols. There is no way universities can achieve that. I have said this elsewhere, that rather than for government to have addressed the obvious deficits in the public universities during the lockdown and strike, they were playing to the gallery.

Meanwhile, Vice Chancellors of several tertiary institutions have debunked ASUU’s claims stating they were ready to commence academic activities.

I think ASUU should begin to speak to facts. Inasmuch as we do not want the COVID-19 outbreak on our campuses, we had our plans. Some academic activities can resume for classes with a few populations.

As it stands, the Federal University of Agriculture(FUNAAB), Federal University of Technology Akure, Bayero University Kano, and Ekiti State University would commence lectures on the 18th of January. The Senate of Obafemi Awolowo University(OAU), would fix a date for resumption after a meeting on the 19th of January.

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