Thursday, 11 September 2014

Nigerian Teachers threaten to strike over new resumption date

The Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, have threatened to go on a nationwide strike if the Federal government does not shift the date of resumption as well as put in place measures that would protect their members from contracting the deadly Ebola virus while teaching in schools.

Speaking in a telephone interview with Punch, the National President of the NUT, Michael Alogba, said the union had taken a decision not to allow any of its members go into any school to teach if the eradication of the deadly virus has not been scientifically and medically proven. Continue
In any sane society, decision such as this will not be taken until the government and all stakeholders have met and discussed the issue at stake and are sure that the nation is scientifically and medical free from the scourge. But this is not the case in our country. When they arrived at the earlyOctober 13date, they wrote us and we agreed with their argument but when this new date was given, they did not because of the influence of some powerful school owners who put pressure on them (Federal Government) to announce theSeptember 22date. Anyway, we have written to tell them that if the Federal Government does not shift the date and provide all necessary safety measures in schools beforeMonday next week, all NUT leaders will meet in Abuja by9am on Tuesdayto decide our fate by ourselves. Though I dont want to preempt the outcome of the meeting but as teachers who have families and who should protect our future, I mean our students, we will shun the classes; we will call for strike. What kind of government is this, dont they know that children can never be as hygienic as adults? Dont they know that the immunity level of children is not as high as that of adults? Why do you want to open schools when you have not cleared out the virus; when you still have about 400 people under surveillance in Port Harcourt and Lagos? You are aware of what is happening at the Obafemi Awolowo University. How are we sure that there is no primary or secondary school pupil that has had contact with an Ebola patient. Its good that the NMA (Nigerian Medical Association) has spoken and we have told them too that we would not cooperate with them. That is why we are going to take a drastic actionon Tuesdayto protect ourselves and our children. I can tell you that we will shun schools; we wont cooperate with them. In other words, we will embark on strike. he said
He warned that if by nextMonday, September 15ththe Federal Government had not extended the new date, the executive council would meet byTuesday 16th Septemberwhere a drastic decision would be taken.Meanwhileafter the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja yesterdaythe Health Minister said there was no going back on the resumption date. According to him, there was no scientific basis for school resumption date to be postponedFirst unlike other countries, there is no community transmission of the disease in Nigeria; not one yet. But we have taken precautions, what we are doing, we may as well have said everybody should just be moving about, but we are taking precautions. There is no scientific basis for school resumption to be postponed. There is no community transmission of the disease in Nigeria. That is what separates Nigeria from other countries. It is what I call irrational fear; we dont need to be irrational about this. he said
The Nigerian Medical Association as well as the House of Representative Committee on Education have spoken against the new resumption date.
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