The leadership of NANS Southwest Zone commends and appreciates the Ogun State Governor, His Excellency Prince Dr. Dapo Abiodun MFR for his timely and favourable intervention and response to the case of compulsory COVID-19 testing fee levied on private secondary school students.
It would be recalled that there was a viral video on social media few days ago, where parents of the finalist were seen lamenting an unexpected and undue #25,000 levy for COVID-19 test on private school students preparing to resume for the forthcoming WASSCE.
We hereby express our delight by the directive to have any form of payment attached to the COVID-19 testing cancelled. We are once again reminded that we have a listening Governor, father and lover of education piloting the affairs of the Gateway State.
The fear that the dividends of our tender democracy is being distributed with preference and discrimination has been allayed. Above all, the outcry of various students representative stakes, parents of the affected students and concerned patriots is heard.
We also recognise the various effort of the State Government to ensure that the state is not behind in the fight against the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
We however pray that Government further intensify efforts to see to a more timely and safe resumption of all educational institutions. Adequate provisions should he made to enhance the efforts of students and staff compliance to the COVID-19 prevention guidelines. Fully functional washing hand basins should be strategically and adequately sited in school premises across the state. Nose masks and hand sanitizers should also be freely provided for all students across all levels.
The free COVID-19 testing should also be extended to all students across the state. It is the safest precaution against any outbreak upon general resumption of our schools.
The social distancing culture may be difficult to adopt because some educational institutions owning to insufficient class room space. We suggest that the state government set up committees that will comprise of school heads and NCDC assigned delegates to come with the best schedule that will accommodate this shortcoming.
The State Government in his magnanimity should also direct that school management at all levels should ease any form of demand that will amount to pressure on the students and their parents. We all are victims of the economic recession.
It is also pertinent that the government at all levels begin to consider a financial support bailout for private school owners. Private school employees has suffered the biggest hit of the economic clampdown as most of them have to support for continued remuneration of their staffs though the four months long lockdown. They are citizens and financial members of the nation and are equally tax payers.
Ogun State is due to move on to the next phase of COVID-19 restriction ease. We need to emulate our Oyo state counterpart as they have set the pace already.
Until all are Freed,
All remain Slaves.
Comrade Oladimeji Uthman ‘Dan Fodio’
Deputy Coordinator, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), South West Zone (NANS Zone D)