COVID-19: 7 states defy PTF directive as Lagos shuts schools indefinitely

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 wants Nigerian schools closed until at least January 18 to allow coronavirus restrictions take hold.

But seven states have declared that they have no plans to follow the national mandate.

Kogi, Anambra, Plateau and Ekiti said, in accordance with the PTF mandate, they will not allow schools resume until January 18.

On another hand, Rivers, Cross River, Gombe, Sokoto, Zamfara, Delta and Oyo states say they will defy the federal government’s directive.

PTF had issued the guidelines following what experts called a second wave of coronavirus infections.

Cross River education commissioner Godwin Amanke said schools in the state would reopen on January 11.

“That is our original date on the timetable we rolled out last year,” Amanke told Punch.

“Individual states are subject to their peculiar circumstances. We don’t have any imminent threat in the state to warrant such a shift.

“We will encourage schools to observe necessary protocols. The parents have a role to play. The teachers have a role to play and children have a role to play.”

The other six dissenting states gave similar explanations.

“Gombe’s resumption date is still 11th of January,” education commissioner Habu Dahiru said.

“Last time, due to COVID-19, the school calendar had to change. The local epidemiologist has not told me we are in great danger, if we practise the COVID-19 protocols well just like we did when we opened schools earlier.

“Our school calendar states we are opening on the 11th January. The Federal Government’s date is for places like Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory and Kaduna, where there is a surge.

“We have set up committees on COVID-19 protocols in schools. We will observe the guidelines by ensuring that soap and water as well as face masks are available.”

The Zamfara State Commissioner of Education, Ibrahim Abdullahi, said schools are resuming already.

“We have already reopened our schools beginning from today, Sunday,” he told Punch.

“We have reopened our boarding schools today (Sunday), while the day schools will resume tomorrow (Monday).

“My directive comes from my governor who asked us to reopen our schools which we have done and we are going to start the first term examination on Wednesday”.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government has shut non-tertiary schools indefinitely.

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