The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says it’s unsafe to resume work considering the inadequate measures put in place to checkmate the spread of COVID-19 at various varsities.

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The National Universities Commission (NUC) had earlier directed vice-chancellors of universities to commence academic activities on January 18.

But in separate interviews with PUNCH, some branches of the union said while the directive is commendable, there is a need to also prioritise the safety of students and staff of universities.

Adeola Egbedokun, the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) ASUU chairman, warned that resuming lectures without proper COVID-19 measures in place would be disastrous.

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“COVID-19 is very real and this second wave is as real as described. We cannot afford to toy with our health and the health of our dear students in the name of resumption, which is politically motivated,” he said.

“There are no preparations for safe re-opening of the universities and I think parents must insist on safe re-opening. The current classroom and hostel configurations in our universities do not in any way conform with the PTF (Presidential Task Force) on  COVID-19 protocols.

“There is no way universities can achieve that. I have said this elsewhere, that rather than for government to have addressed the obvious deficits in the public universities during the lockdown and strike, they were playing to the gallery.”

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On his part, John Edor, ASUU chairman, University of Calabar (UNICAL), said the union would announce its position on whether its members would resume for physical lectures or not after ascertaining the measures put in place by the institution.

“As a union, we are not too quick to talk. We are not too fast to become meddlesome. They have said schools are permitted to resume on the 18th of January, 2021,” he said.

“If by then we see that the necessary things are not put in place for the resumption, the union will come up with a position because we are not ready to expose our members to health hazards.

“That was why we went on strike, asking for revitalisation of public universities. Revitalisation simply means conducive theatres, conducive hostels, offices, laboratories and libraries.

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“That is why we are saying let us wait till 18th of January and see how prepared Nigerian public universities are in the face of the second wave of COVID-19 which has come up with a more ferocious variant.”

Also speaking, Moyosore Ajao, chairman of University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) ASUU, said the institution would resume on Monday (today) as planned.

He, however, told TheCable Lifestyle on Monday morning that lectures would be held virtually.

“Lectures will start online today at UNILORIN,” he said.

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When asked about the institution’s COVID-19 preparedness for physical resumption, he said: “I can’t give scorecard of management. Opening of universities is based on federal government and the senate of the institutions not ASUU.”



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