FG to unveil plans on reopening of schools on Monday ―Minister

•Denies report that COVID-19 is sham

The Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukwuemaka Nwajiuba has hinted that the Federal Government will formally unveil the plans for the reopening of schools on Monday next week after the adoption of the proposal by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Nwajiuba gave the indication on Thursday during PTF news briefing in Abuja, where he also debunked a media report credited to him that coronavirus pandemic was a sham and that the virus did not exist in Nigeria.

While insisting that COVID-19 is real, Nwajiuba maintained that he was quoted out of context by the reporter during his appearance before the Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education, to present the Ministry’s proposal on the reopening of schools.

He disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Education has developed a proposal for the reopening of schools based on the advice of members of PTF and that the proposal would be further x-rayed by the committee before submission to President Muhammadu Buhari for approval.

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He said when this was done the plan for the reopening of schools would be formally announced on Monday next during the daily PTF briefing.

The Minister said: “Some of our brothers published something yesterday to the effect that I told him or them that coronavirus is a sham.

“I must address and tell you all that no such thing transpired. Coronavirus is real and we have been meeting over this and working to strengthen our response to the pandemic.

“I recognise that someone who is in the Federal Ministry of Education that all our Intelligence Quotient (IQ) are not at the same level. So, some people may have a different perception of what I said- maybe a lot of grammar that was not assimilated properly,” he said.

The Minister said even though has excused the authors of the purported story, there was the need to clarify on what he said at the meeting with the Senate Committee.

He said part of reasons why “we are keeping our children at home stems from the fact that you can’t see coronavirus with your physical eyes, so you may not know if a child is asymptomatic and if he or she so does, he or she goes back and infect another person, there is no way for us to guarantee their safety.

“Besides, we did a perception survey and we know that 80 per cent of the responses we got from around the country from parents showed that they were not willing to experiment with any of their children, to test whether it will work or not.

“But I can assure you that all the measures we have taken are guided by members of the PTF assembled by President Muhammadu Buhari to give a scientific background that is governed by data and science to the decisions to be made.

“I’m sure that some of the work we have done has taken some advice from them would be reported next week. Because now we have sufficient information to make some decisions and those decisions would be first of all x-rayed and presented by PTF upward.

“When we are cleared with them, we can come here maybe by Monday and say what exactly we are planning. But until then, kindly abide by what you have been told by this committee that people should stay at home, keep our children safe for you and for me.

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