The House of Representatives has moved against the Federal Government’s directive that schools should resume on Monday, January 18, despite the rising cases of the coronavirus disease.
The lower house, while expressing its concern, wondered why schools were closed when the infection rates were around 500 and below, but now that it hovers well above 1000 infections daily, schools are being reopened.
This disclosure is contained in a statement titled, “School Resumption: Are We Truly Prepared?” which was issued by the Chairman, House Committee on Basic Education and Services, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, on Saturday, January 16, 2021.
Ihonvbere in his statement said that public enlightenment campaigns have more or less stopped, as merely saying that protocol would be adhered to is no guarantee with the situation even being worse in rural areas.
The house, therefore, demanded for the postponement of resumption of schools by 3 months, if some critical steps are not taken, so as to enable the local and state governments put things in place adequately.
He said that apart from Lagos and a couple of other states, governments have been unable to enforce Covid-19 protocols with people no longer wearing facemasks or use sanitisers, especially in secondary schools. There are no facilities for effective social distancing in the classrooms.
Ihonvbere said they have not heard how the schools would address the issues of introduction of morning and afternoon batches into the schools when they reopen to reduce overcrowding, special cleaning crews with sufficient sanitisers in classrooms, insisting on facemasks and sanitisers for the students and others.
What Prof. Ihonvbere is saying
The statement from the House partly reads,
- “The Committee on Basic Education and Services, House of Representatives, has received with concern the decision of the Federal Government to reopen schools on January 18, 2021.
- “We are particularly concerned that when the infection rates hovered around 500 and under, schools were closed; but now that it hovers well above 1,000 infections daily, schools are being reopened. Why are we rushing to reopen schools without adequate verifiable and sustainable arrangements to protect and secure our children?
- “Similarly, we acknowledge the argument that most young persons have not been as affected by Covid-19 and many are asymptomatic. Yet, it does not mean they have full immunity against the virus. We also know that they would be working and interacting with adult teachers, administrative workers and other persons that do not live within the institutions.
- ‘’People no longer wear facemasks or use sanitisers. Public enlightenment campaigns have more or less stopped. Merely saying they would adhere to the protocols is no guarantee. In rural areas, the situation is worse.
- “Our position is that in spite of the very comprehensive protocols established by the Federal Ministry of Education, not up to 10 per cent of our educational institutions have implemented five per cent of the protocols. In most of our primary and secondary schools nationwide, adequate furniture, water and other sanitation and hygiene facilities do not exist.
- “As a government that has committed to protecting the interests of the Nigerian people, it would be wrong to allow unprepared state governments, of which many did not take the pandemic too seriously anyway, to hoodwink or pressure it into this reopening game.
- “The Committee believes that if these and other critical steps are not taken, there should be a postponement by three months to enable the local and state governments put things in place adequately. A word, they say, is enough for the wise.’’
What you should know
- The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, a few days ago, insisted on the January 18 resumption date for schools until the Federal Ministry of Education advises otherwise.
- The clarification became necessary following the earlier comment by the Minister for Education, Adamu Adamu, that government may review the resumption date following the outbreak of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic across the country.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON BASIC EDUCATION AND SERVICES, ABUJA.
SCHOOL RESUMPTION: ARE WE TRULY PREPARED?
The Committee on Basic Education and Services, House of Representatives has received with some concern the decision of the Federal Government to reopen schools pic.twitter.com/wehOd7QoXG
— Hon. Prof. Julius Ihonvbere,OON (@HonIhonvbere) January 16, 2021
Lagos, Chinese firm to rollout 1,000 SUVs as taxis, to complete auto assembly plant in 12 months
Lagos State Government has signed an agreement with a Chinese firm to roll-out 1,000 SUVs as taxis for Lagos residents.
Lagos State Government has signed an agreement with a Chinese firm, Choice International Group (CIG) Motors Co. Ltd. on Thursday for the roll-out of 1,000 Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) as taxis for Lagos residents.
The signing and flag-off ceremony which was held at the Lagos House, Marina also included the signing of an agreement for the establishment of a Motor Assembly Plant in Lagos State, with the Governor saying that the roll-out of vehicles from the plant is expected within the next 12 to 18 months.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said that the Lagos State Taxi Scheme was another innovative policy of his administration targeted at making life easier for Lagosians, improving mobility and creating a seamless multi-modal transport system.
Sanwo-Olu said that the scheme would create jobs, accelerate socio-economic growth, and further put the state on the global map as the centre of excellence and a modern megacity committed to sustainable development.
What Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is saying
Sanwo-Olu pointed out that the task of bequeathing a safe, efficient, quick, and modern public transport system is a key thrust of the administration’s T.H.E.M.E.S. Agenda.
He said, ”We are guided by the need for an equitable transport system with mobility choices for our people. The Taxi Scheme, to be known as ”Lagos Ride”, which is being inaugurated today is in fulfilment of our desire to give Lagosians transport choices.
”It is one of the Lagos State Government’s socio-economic intervention programmes- a modern ride-hailing service that will be professionally managed in line with global best practices. Under the Lagos State Taxi Service, drivers/operators will be given the cars for a period of four years during which they pay a monthly instalment and they will have the opportunity of owning the cars after they have fully paid the hire amount.
”The Lagos State Taxi Service is structured along a profitability model, it is self-sustaining and able to expand and regenerate itself,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that the establishment of the Motor Assembly Plant was expected to revive industrialisation, increase citizens’ employment and wealth creation, boost tourism, and encourage technology sharing, adaptation, and advancement.
He said, ”As we inaugurate the taxis and sign the Joint Venture Agreement for the establishment of the Motor Assembly Plant, Lagosians should expect a roll-out of vehicles from this plant within the next 12 to 18 months.
”I urge the beneficiaries of the Lagos State Taxi Service to collaborate with us to sustain the scheme.We have the political and administrative will to ensure the Taxi Scheme survives.
”I am hopeful that the operators will cooperate with the Lagos State Government to render excellent service to the people,” he said.
The Group Chairman, CIG Motors, Diana Chen, said that they hope to celebrate this exciting moment again when 1,000 units of branded SUVs with high-tech technology arrive and run across Lagos streets and roads, with 1,000 well-trained drivers carrying happy customers that live and work in Lagos.
What this means
- This collaboration by the Lagos State Government with the Chinese auto firm is one of the ways of the government to get private sector participation in a modern transport system within the metropolis’
- The establishment of the Assembly Plant and the Lagos Taxi Scheme were among the benefits of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s official trip to China.
- This is a welcome development as it will help to change the face of public transportation in the state.
FG announces extension of work-from-home directive for GL 12 officers, below
FG has extended the work-from-home directive for civil servants from GL 12 and below until the end of March.
The Federal Government has announced the extension of the work-from-home directive for civil servants from GL 12 and below until the end of March.
This is seen as part of the measure by the government to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic which had surged earlier this year, due to the second wave of the outbreak across the country and the discovery of a new variant of the disease.
This announcement was made in a statement by the Head of Service of the Federation (HOSF), Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, and signed by the Director of Press and Public Relations, the office of HOSF, Mr Abdulganiyu Aminu, on Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Abuja.
The statement partly reads, “All public servants on GL12 and below have been directed to continue working from home till the end of March 2021.”
Yemi-Esan said the latest directive was in adherence to the advice of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19.
The Head of Service of the Federation harped on the need to maintain the downward trend of the Covid-19 infection in the country and as such the reason for the extension of work from home directive.
While also emphasising the need for all public servants to continue to ensure strict compliance with the existing guidelines on the prevention and spread of the pandemic, she enjoined all Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executive officers to bring the content of the circular to all concerned and ensure strict compliance.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that the Federal Government in January 2021, announced the extension of work from home directive for civil servants on Grade Level 12 and below until February 28, 2021.
- The directive was as a result of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic which had seen a spike in infection rates across the country.
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