The Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Lagos State Area Council, has advised the state government against ‘hasty’ reopening of schools.
The group’s Amir (President), Dr Saheed Ashafa, gave this advice in a statement made available to newsmen on Thursday in Lagos.
Ashafa said this in reaction to the Federal Government’s decision not to allow students to sit for the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) amid rising cases of COVID-19 in the country.
He cautioned that schools should only be reopened when adequate preparations had been made to prevent spread of the disease among students.
According to him, many schools lack adequate facilities that will enable them to comply with the COVID-19 preventive guidelines.
He also queried the motive of reopening schools for graduating students’ due to “external pressure” from WAEC.
Quoting data from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) website to substantiate the group’s call, Ashafa said time was not ripe for the reopening of schools in the state.
“According to the NCDC, as of Thursday, July 9, 2020, Lagos has recorded 11,670 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
“Out of these cases, 133 are dead and 1,701 have recovered.
“This means that there are still 9,836 active cases of coronavirus in Lagos.
“From data gotten via the World Health Organisation website, Lagos has more cases than all other countries taking WASSCE, except Ghana.
“The state has, however, recorded more deaths than Ghana.
“In fact, if the COVID-19 cases in all other countries taking WASSCE, except Ghana are added together, Lagos will still have more COVID-19 cases,’’ Ashafa said.
He further called on the Lagos State Government to toe the line of the Federal Government in postponing the reopening of schools nationwide.
This move, he said, would ensure the protection of lives and limit the spread of the pandemic in the state.
“Since the government is expected to protect the lives of the people, it should weigh the available options, do the analysis and come out with a conclusion on whether it is more beneficial to take examinations at this moment or not.
This, he said, is more appropriate, rather than following a bandwagon announcement of school reopening.
“It may be honourable for the state to toe the line of the federal government by cancelling its plans to reopen schools for graduating students.
“We also understand that WAEC has assured the public of ensuring the best of COVID-19 protocols, but what about the mental wellness of the students.
“We are certain that it will not benefit anybody, parents, students, government and the nation to approve the taking of examinations and lose lives.’’