The House of Representatives said on Tuesday that a postponement of the September 22 resumption date for private and public primary/secondary schools in the country was likely.
It explained that it had directed its Committee on Education to take “another look” at the date in view of the fact that the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in the country had yet to be fully contained.
The Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Victor Ogene, who conveyed the position of the House in Abuja, said there was still apprehension among parents and guardians over the Federal Government’s decision to change the earlier resumption date of October 13 to September 22.
It will be recalled that the Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau, had earlier stated that the October 13 resumption date was to give health officers enough time to bring the EVD under control.
However, following protests by private school owners, the government made a U-turn and opted for September 22. But Ogene said the leadership of the House was concerned over the fresh protests by the public, especially parents and guardians.
He added that the House asked the committee to look into the matter urgently “in the overall interest of the pupils and students, parents and guardian and the general well-being of the entire country.”
“You will recall that upon the outbreak of the dreaded Ebola virus disease in Nigeria, the House Committee on Health rose up to the occasion by interfacing with the health authorities – the result of which is the positive containment efforts and call-off of the strike by doctors in the country.”
However, he noted that considering the fact that some persons were still under surveillance, the House felt it had the responsibility to ensure the safety of children.
He also told journalists that the House was duty-bound to safeguard the entire country from a likely further spread of the disease.
The lawmaker said the committee would come up with recommendations on the appropriate and safe date to re-open the schools.
He added that on September 8, a group, Africa Health, Human and Social Development Information Service, had advised against the re-opening of the schools.
The group had warned that re-opening schools now could put the lives of over 80 million school children and teachers at risk.