The Ogun state government has announced that the COVID-19 test for returning students which was earlier pegged at N25, 000 per student, is now free.Recall that parents of the students of private schools in the state staged a peaceful protest on Sunday, August 2, after they were informed that the test which is mandatory for all returning student, would cost N25, 000.
Recall the Parents of the students of Private Schools in the State staged a peaceful protest on Sunday, August 2, 2020 after they were informed that the test which is mandatory for all returning student, would cost N25, 000.
A statement from the State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, announcing the reversal:
The State has been very apprehensive about the issue of School opening even for exit students. Data from other countries, where Schools have resumed show that community transmission in School environments is a major concern. Even countries with stronger health care facilities than Ours are being cautious.
In line with the Federal Ministry of Education recommendation and WASSCE timetable, we decided to open our schools on the 4th August, 2020 for SS3 students only. We put in place guidelines that would ensure that our students resume in a safe environment.
In our pre-opening engagements with stakeholders, opening of boarding houses was discussed. Our State has one of the largest population of boarding students in the country, coming from all over the Country. After consultations with health professionals, we concluded that testing the children for COVID-19 before admittance will reduce the risk of community transmission. This is to reassure parents and even teachers.
The State planned and provided testing, free of charge, for boarding students in our public schools and allowed for the management and parents of private schools to make their arrangements to get COVID tests. The two Ogun State run laboratories have a capacity for about 500 tests a day and conduct free tests for traced contacts or symptomatic patients. To meet the additional demand for the expected number of boarding students, the statement from the Ogun State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology listed some private test centers which set up sampling points in some of our Health facilities.
These private laboratories have been accredited by NCDC and Lagos State Government for walk-in tests and charge N50,400 per test but I understand that the Ministries of Health and Education negotiated this to N25,000 for boarding students in private schools that may wish to use them. There is no financial benefit to the State Government.
After reviewing these developments, I have today immediately directed that the Government Laboratories carry out test for all returning SS3 boarding students at no cost. I have also directed that all those who have paid for tests be refunded.
The health of our children remains our utmost priority, however in view of the total number of boarding students to be tested (5,340private and 500 public), and bearing in mind the limitation of our installed testing capacity of 500 tests per day, it may not be feasible for all boarding students to get tested and get their results prior to resumption or even exams which commence on 17th August 2020.
Consequently the State Government has therefore stepped down the COVID-19 test as a mandatory requirement for returning students in our exit classes. We therefore enjoin Private School owners to exercise their duty of care to their pupils. The admittance of students into boarding house in private secondary schools will be at the discretion of the management and the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) of such private schools.
Ogun State Government recommends that students who do not have to stay in the boarding house should attend school from home, especially those with underlying health conditions.
I have also directed the provision of face masks to all students in both private and public schools.
UNILAG pro-chancellor, Wale Babalakin resigns
Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Wale Babalakin has resigned as the pro-chancellor of the University of Lagos.
Babalakin conveyed news of his resignation in a letter dated September 15, 2020 and addressed to Adamu Adamu, the minister of education.
The pro-chancellor who sent in his resignation after he was suspended by the federal government, said his decision was based on many “vested interests” asides other issues he raised.
The resignation letter read;
“I would like to thank the President of the Federal of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari for giving me the opportunity to serve as the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos (the “University”) from May 2017 till date.
“I am also grateful that I was considered fit to be the Chairman of the Federal Government Negotiation Team on the Agreement reached with university unions in 2009, from 6th January 2017 till date. I equally want to thank you sir, for your role in recommending me to the President.
“Recent events have made my position in these two offices untenable.
“I led the Governing Council of the University to remove the Vice-Chancellor of the University from office for amongst other reasons: (a)Corruption and financial recklessness; (b)Forgery; (c) Complicity in the collapse of the University library and planned cover up; (d) Deliberate policy of wrongfully concealing information; ( e) Depriving the Faculties in the University of funds; (f)Concealing and distorting finances of the Internally Generating Units of the University; (g)Undermining the academic process and seeking to appoint a Professor by fiat; (h) Siphoning of the University’s funds through dubious contract awards; (i)Undermining the office of the Registrar; (j) Failure to follow due process in organizing the University’s convocation ceremony; and (k)Sponsoring or acquiescing in the unconstitutional actions of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Lagos chapter.
“Sir, it is noteworthy that all the Federal Government Representatives who are the independent members on the Governing Council voted for the removal of the Vice-Chancellor.
“After calm had been restored in the University, the Visitor acting within his powers, set up a Presidential Visitation Panel to review the actions taken by Governing Council.
“The Vice-Chancellor (who had been removed from office) and myself were told to recuse ourselves for the duration of the Visitation Panel.
“I find it difficult to understand how a non-executive Chairman of a Governing Council could be requested to recuse himself during the visitation
“The Vice-Chancellor could only recuse himself if he were still in office. Implicit in this position is that the Vice-Chancellor was acknowledged as still being in office despite his removal.
“The terms of reference of the Visitation Panel clearly indicated to any discerning person that the Visitation Panel was empanelled to exonerate the Vice-Chancellor and implicate the Pro-Chancellor.
“For easy reference, the terms of reference of the Visitation Panel are:
- To review the report of the Council sub-committee on review of expenditure of the University of Lagos since May 2017 and make appropriate recommendations after affording all those indicted an opportunity to defend themselves;
- To examine the steps taken by the Council leading to the removal of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, and ascertain whether due process was followed as stipulated in the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Act, 2003, and the principle of fair hearing adhered to;
- To determine whether the process (if any) leading to the appointment of the acting Vice Chancellor for the University was consistent with the provisions of the enabling Act;
- To make appropriate recommendations including sanctions for all those found culpable by the special visitation team on the allegations contained in the report as well as other subsequent actions arising therefrom; and
- To make any other recommendations that will assist the government to take decisions that will ensure peaceful, stable and effective administration of the University.
“As stated earlier, the Vice-Chancellor was removed for various reasons and not just as a result of the findings contained in the Dagari Report. Items (b) and (c) were directed at the Pro-Chancellor and Governing Council.
“Unfortunately, those items deal with the interpretation of the laws of the land. The appropriate forum to determine the laws of the land is a court of law or a judicial tribunal. It cannot be determined by academics of a different discipline no matter how distinguished. These terms of reference are ultra-vires the Visitation Panel as constituted.”
The membership of the Visitation Panel is simply inappropriate in the circumstance. How can a committee of Vice-Chancellors determine the culpability or otherwise of the actions of a Pro-Chancellor and a Governing Council?”
“On the face of it, it is simply wrong! Furthermore, the Vice-Chancellors on the Panel were drawn from relatively smaller universities who are not likely to have a comprehensive understanding of the procedure contained in the University of Lagos Act (as amended).
“Even Vice-Chancellors of state universities were included. As Chairman of the Federal Government Negotiation Team, I know the challenges faced with the administration of state universities.
“I only appeared before the Panel out of my very great respect for you, Sir. My training as a lawyer revealed to me very clearly, that the Panel was inappropriate for the assignment.
“During my appearance, I made it very clear that I was appearing in protest and the Panel, as constituted, could not determine the issues before it. The active participation of the staff of the Ministry of Education in the Panel and their contributions throughout the sittings especially the hounding of witnesses who came to testify against the Vice-Chancellor was enough to show very clearly that the technocrats in the Ministry had a defined agenda.
“Their obvious agenda was to humiliate the Governing Council. Sir, fortunately there is a verbatim recording of the proceedings of the Visitation Panel, and you may wish to direct objective persons to listen to the recording.
“I am particularly relieved by the comment of the Chancellor of the University, His Royal Highness, Alhaji (Dr) Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Al Amin El-Kanemi CFR on the situation in the University. In a letter dated 15th September 2020 and addressed to your good self (which I was copied), His Royal Highness stated thus:
“I have discovered that there are too many vested interests in this matter, who are not approaching the issues objectively. For this reason, I strongly advise that the Visitation Panel should not submit any formal report to the Minister that may hinder my ability to deal with the issues comprehensively
“I have served the university system in Nigeria with my heart and intellect. Amongst other offices, I was:
- Pro-Chancellor, University of Maiduguri (2009 – 2013);
- Chairman, Council of Pro-Chancellors of all Federal Universities (2009 – 2013);
- Chairman, Federal Government Implementation Team of the 2009 Agreement (2009 – 2013);
- Chairman, Federal Government Negotiation Team of the 2009 Agreement (2017 till date);
- Pro-Chancellor, University of Lagos (2017 till date).
“These were made possible by a system that provided resources and also ensured proper monitoring of the resources.
“The educational system in Nigeria requires more funding but most importantly, it requires prudent management of the limited resources.
“It was my determination to ensure that the limited resources of the University of Lagos were properly utilized that motivated me to lead the Governing Council to take the decisions which the Governing Council took.
“In all these positions that I have held, I did not receive any remuneration. Specifically:
“I did not receive any sitting allowance. I did not receive any tickets or travel allowance.
I did not receive or use any official car.
In the University of Maiduguri and University of Lagos, I did not allow the institutions to provide me with food or drinks. I paid for every right or privilege that was conferred on me.
“Even when I travelled to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, I paid for my ticket and my expenses.
“I did not obtain any contract from the education sector in my relative long sojourn in the sector.
“My motivation for my actions is that I had the best education that an intellect could provide in Nigeria and abroad. It is my fervent desire that every Nigerian should have the sort of opportunities I had.
“I remain very grateful to all the members of the Federal Government team on the Governing Council of the University of Lagos, namely: Alhaji Ali Hussein; Rev. Yomi Kasali; Dr. Bayo Adaralegbe; and Dr. Saminu Dagari.
“It would be very difficult to find a group of more selfless persons than these individuals. It is acutely hurtful that I am leaving before achieving our goal of sanitizing the University of Lagos, and turning it to a reference point in Africa and the world, rather than the unenviable poor position it now occupies.
“Unfortunately, I must stand by principle. In a situation where my employers believe that the actions I took may not be right, the appropriate thing to do is bow out in honour. Sir, may the Almighty Allah continue to bless you.
Lagos Primary Schools won’t reopen on September 21 – Lagos State govt
Primary schools in Lagos State will not resume on September 21, the state government said on Thursday, as it adopts phase re-opening of schools.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had said recently that primary and secondary schools in Lagos State would resume on September 21, but said the date would be tentative.
Special Adviser on Education to the Governor, Tokunbo Wahab, in an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said even though it was announced that schools would reopen on September 21, it would be done in phases.
“Primary school will not open on 21st, those in primary six will be promoted to JSS 1 using their assessment, while those in SS2 and SSI will resume for few weeks and we see how it goes first and then JSS 3 and others. It is going to be a phase resumption,” he said.
He said the phased resumption would begin on September 14 with tertiary institutions, starting with final year students.
Wahab said after their examination, those in penultimate year could resume.
“We will start with our final year students, we will not put all our students on campus at the same time. We have visited all the schools in Lagos State and we have put in place requirements that will enable them be safe. All will not come at the same time,” he said.
WASSCE candidate contracts COVID-19 in Akwa Ibom
media chat in Uyo, the Governor who did not reveal the name of the school said the affected student is asymptomatic.
Udom further disclosed that they will be ensuring the student does not miss out on anything from the class.
“We have tested over 100 students and it is only one young man that tested positive for COVID-19 in the state.
“We did what we ought to do medically; I want to believe that by now, the young man should be okay.
“All of them are in excellent health condition because we have put everything in place to ensure that the students are quite safe.
“I have directed all my Special Assistants to go to all the schools and monitor the level of compliance with the COVID-19 safety protocols and give us first-hand reports in case of any emergency.
“Students observed all COVID-19 protocols before starting their examination. We want to make sure our students are safe even while writing the examination.”
The Akwa Ibom state Governor also announced that they have provided over 100,000 face masks, sanitisers, and all the COVID-19 support to the schools writing the examination across the state.
“Based on the report I have, I think the students are doing well; it is left for them to reciprocate by giving us excellent WAEC result.”.