FCT Education Stakeholders Evaluate Re-opening Of Schools Over Covid-19, #EndSARS

The recent covid-19 outbreak in a boarding school in Lekki , Lagos State as well as the lack of compliance to covid-19 health protocols by many EndSARS protesters and demonstrators in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and beyond had become a concern to the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) on Covid-19.


This is coming even as covid-19 spikes have been registered in parts of Europe, Israel amongst others, which has led to a second shut down of schools.

It may be recalled that the Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha had on Monday predicted a spike in covid-19 due to gross violation of the public health advisory on covid-19 by Nigerians.

“Truth be told, two weeks from today, if you get all the people that congregated at the Lekki toll plaza and run a test, you would establish for sure several infections. Any mass gathering that does not adhere to the non- phamacautical interventions that have been put in place, which are wearing of masks, social distancing, keeping personal hygiene and avoiding mass gatherings, they become super spreader events whether you like it or not.

“So I can say with a definitive voice that two weeks from today, get everybody that congregated in those places, not only at the Lekki toll plaza, but also the Unity Fountain in Abuja but several other places, we would definitely be contending with increase in infections, two weeks from now, and that’s why we must be extremely careful when we congregate,” Mustapha decried

THE WHISTLER spoke to some stakeholders in FCT regarding the developments.


Speaking about the infections recorded in the Lagos school, the PTF Co-ordinator, Sani Aliyu warned that state governments, schools and other stakeholders must be extra careful in view of what had happened.

“That development brings to the fore the risk associated with relaxing some of the restrictions which we are all very much aware of, and have continued to monitor closely.

THE WHISTLER had reported that a private boarding school situated in Lekki, Lagos State was on October 16 brought under lockdown surveillance by Government after 181 out of 441 students and staff contracted covid-19.

However, the Head Teacher of the St Luke Nursery and Primary School Kubwa, Mrs. Ejidike Fidel, told our correspondent that the FCT gave approval for school re-opening based on satisfaction that appropriate safety measures against COVID-19 had been put in place.

“Well, when we wanted to reopen we were told that there are some guidelines we have to keep before we can reopened, we tried to maintain all the guidelines; even the supervisors they came here to see us and saw that we are fit for reopening and they asked us to go ahead and reopen.


“We have our thermometer and in the morning we do check our pupils, parents and the staff as well so anybody whose temperature is above normal we ask them to go home.

“If we close, we allow them to go home we don’t allow them to mingle because we’ve had trainings on how to observe the guidelines,” she said.

On his part, a teaching staff at the Whole Person Academy Nursery and Primary School, also in Kubwa, Mr. Anayo Onuh, argued that the Covid-19 had come to stay and that everyone should simply stick with the recommended health protocols.

He noted that the FCT Administration should not consider closing the schools going by recent developments but urged all stakeholders to adhere strictly to covid-19 guidelines.

“You know, the close down of schools before now has caused a lot of disruption in academic calendar and now we are on; if not for the EndSARS protests. But I think like our school, we are doing as much as we can to follow the protocol and ensure that everything goes well.

“But generally speaking I think that the school can still go on for now, the EndSARS protests have not really turned violent except in few places where people that were paid agents were hired to cause disruption but by and large it is still safe to continue with academic work.


“My personal opinion is that all of these could be gimmicks to stop EndSARS protests; have we not been having large gatherings? For months now, if you go to Kubwa market you would be wondering if you have covid-19, we had elections in Edo and Ondo states too. So for me, Government should not play politics with this.

“The curve for Covid-19 has flattened, let’s just see how we can manage the situation,” he told THE WHISTLER.

An Educationist residing in Abuja, Mr. Emmanuel Chukwuyem Agese, also told our correspondent that the fear of covid-19 should no longer be the issue but its containment.

He was of view that the education of the children should not be halted adding that Government should invest in research and come up with treatments when the need arises.

“The Government don’t need to close down schools because in the first place before they even reopen the schools we noticed a situation whereby the children go to worship centres, they mingle with friends and go to the market with their parents even at home, they play with other kids so there is no point closing down the schools.

“Whether we like it or not covid-19 have come to stay, what they need to do is to sponsor people for research, let them come up with remedies to tackle this problem.

“The Nigerian Government should pump money into the health sector so that health practitioners and researchers can research and come up with a vaccine.

“Shutting down the school for me is an effort in futility and the reason why Government is always thinking of shutting down schools is simply because maybe they think the school is not generating fund; if the school is something like NNPC, FIRS, I don’t think Government would want to shut it down.

“If they want to shut down they should shut down NNPC, Ministries and Aso Rock, let everyone be at home as we find a lasting solution to this; they should not be quick to close down education sector because it is affecting some of us too,” he said.

However, a staff of a Federal Government agency who did not want his name mentioned told our correspondent in Maitama that he did not support re-opening of schools amid the Covid-19.

“I’m still skeptical about my son resuming school, but the point is, why are teachers not always on facemask?

” Although they told my son to wear facemask and use hand sanitizer, what about closing from school, and entering a cab home?

“Infact, I chose not to pay my son’s school fees for now.”

But a tailor in Kubwa( who refused to be named) waxed biblical, adding that God would protect her son.

“I don’t believe in Covid-19, it may be in other countries but not in Nigeria; as for me, I pray for my son before he leaves for school.”

An official of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), FCT, Mr. Percy, maintained that based on the efforts put in place by the FCT Administration and other stakeholders, closing schools would not be a good decision.

“Sorry sir,I can’t speak for Lagos State ,and for FCT #ENDSARS protests. It’s a nation wide outcries of the youth and government have accepted to look into their plights .

“One of such is directing the states nationwide to constitute a judicial panel of inquiry where some states have consented and so asking if schools should be closed down in view of these outrages, particularly in FCT, I’ll tell you that my personal opinion will be in the contrary .

“And unless events turn out otherwise, there’ll be no need forcasting a seemingly endless crisis to affect school activities again.

“At the moment, especially with the rate at which FCT administration is working on precautionary measures regarding the safety of students in FCT schools, I’m thinking my answer will be in affirmative,” he told THE WHISTLER on Tuesday.

Also, the Chairman, Committee on School Reopening, FCT, Hajia Fatima Abdulrahaman, in an exclusive interview with THE WHISTLER on Wednesday, said the administration was more concerned with COVID-19 compliance within each school’s environment.

“I’m not in Lagos, I’m in Abuja; if the student leaves the school premises we don’t have right over them outside.

“But as far as they are coming into the school they must obey the protocol of covid-19 laid down guidelines.

“Right from the gate, before one comes in, your temperature will be taken, both students and staff and you will wash your hands and as you move in into the school there are strategic areas where hand washing devices had be placed in front of the classrooms, dormitories, dining halls and the surfaces of the tables are always disinfected from time to time

“So no student or staff will be allowed without facemask; no facemask no entry into our schools,” she said.

Recall that the FCT Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello had said that the directive to reopen schools was done ” after pain- staking consultations with various stakeholder groups in the education sector.”

According to the Minister, these groups include the FCT Parents Teachers Association, the Health and Human Services Secretariat of the FCTA, the Nigeria Union of Teachers, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, Nigeria Union of Teachers amongst others.

Malam Bello pointed out that the collaboration with stakeholder groups ensured the safe re-opening of secondary schools for conduct of the terminal examinations for JSS 3 and SSS 3 students in August without a single case of COVID-19 reported.


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