GENERAL

School Resumption: I Did Not Call Covid19 A Scam – Nigeria’s Education Minister

The federal ministry of Education has through the office of the director denied that the minister of education called Covid19 a scam. This was contained in a press release posted on the official website of the ministry. The minister of Education denied ever calling corona virus a scam and blasted an online news paper for carrying the news. The minister noted that if he saw covid19 as a scam, while we he go to the Senate to submit proposals for schools resumption and not just send the children to school immediately.

The statement reads;

FEDERAL MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR (PRESS & PR)
Press Release
RE: COVID-19 A SHAM
The attention of the Federal Ministry of Education has been drawn to a publication
by Nigerian Pilot Newspaper of 24th June, 2020 quoting the Minister of State for
Education, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, denying the existence of Corona Virus
in the country.
Hon. Nwajiuba was said to have described the purported existence of the pandemic
in Nigeria as a sham as there is no official evidence.
The Minister of State was said to have made the allegation when he appeared
before the Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education yesterday in
Abuja while presenting the Ministry’s proposal on the reopening of schools.
The Minister was quoted as saying: “nobody has seen this disease in Nigeria.
Anybody who says he has seen it is a joker”. We wish to put it straight that the
Minister was clearly quoted out of context as he never said so.
The Pilot story even contradicts itself as it reported that the Minister had, a day
earlier, condemned the decision of the Oyo state government, who has announced
that it will reopen its primary and secondary schools despite the current rising
cases of infection in the country and the state in particular.
If indeed Hon. Nwajiuba does not believe in the existence of Covid -19 in the
country, why would he go to the Senate Committee to campaign against the
reopening of schools, which implies endangering the lives of innocent school
children?

The statement continued;

We are all aware that the Federal Ministry of Education was the first to shut down
schools when the pandemic broke out. It is on record that not a single child died or
even contracted the virus in school because of the proactive actions of the Ministry
which the Honourable Minister of state co-presides. Why would the Federal
Government do so if the pandemic is not real, knowing the colossal effect on the
economy?
The Honourable Minister of State is even a member of the Presidential Task Force,
(PTF), on Covid -19, which spearheads the fight. Why would he agree to be part of
“such a sham” knowing that he is a man of integrity?
The Honourable Minister was in Lagos along with other members of the PTF on
Covid 19 and he was privileged to see victims of Covid 19 and even dead bodies. It
is, therefore, inconceivable that he will make such a statement.
I was at the interactive session with the Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary
education and make bold to say that the Hon. Minister never said such a thing.
It is a well-known fact that the Minister has spoken severally against the reopening
of schools, thus, he cannot in a twist contradict himself by doubting its existence.
Keen followers of the Ministry will confirm that the stance of the Minister has
been against endangering the lives of children. The Ministry is indeed under
intense pressure to reopen schools but will never succumb to such pressures until
the infection curve begins to flatten.
The Ministry of Education reaffirms its commitment to the safety of Nigerian
children and would, therefore, not do anything to compromise their safety.
The Federal Government is aware of the damages Corona Virus has caused to the
lives of people and economies globally, including Nigeria. We will therefore not
compromise an inch in this regard, no matter the blackmail.
The Honourable Minister of State and indeed the Ministry, is also of the belief that
no child should die of Covid -19 due to schools being reopened at the wrong time
and therefore, will resist all pressure to do so.
Nwajiuba and Arc. Sonny Echono, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, came
under pressure by the Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education to
give a definite date for the reopening of schools but the duo were unanimous on the
side of caution.
The Ministry subsequently urges the public to disregard the report by Nigerian
Pilot Newspaper as it is unfounded.

The report is the work of detractors of the Federal Government who do not want it
to succeed in its quest to improve the standard of education in the country as well
as protect the wellbeing of Nigerians.
Ben Bem Goong
Director, Press and Public Relations
25 the June, 2020″

The statement ended.

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