Don’t Reopen Varsities, FG Warns Vice-Chancellors

The Federal Ministry of Education has ordered vice chancellors to maintain the closure of federal, state and private universities in order to keep students and university communities safe from coronavirus.

The National Universities Commission gave the directive through a circular by the Director, Directorate of the Executive Secretary’s Office, Chris Maiyaki.

The circular read, “Vice chancellors will please recall that following the ministerial directive of March 19, 2020, the NUC issued two circulars on Friday, March 20, to convey approval for the closure of institutions for a period of one month effective from Monday, March 23.

“The Federal Ministry of Education has subsequently directed on Friday, March 8, that all schools remain closed as the Federal Government is closely monitoring developments on the containment of the COVID-19. Vice-Chancellors are to ignore the fake news being circulated in the social media as the situation is under constant review and any decision will be conveyed through the appropriate channels.

“I am therefore to forward herewith, a copy of the circular from the Federal Ministry of Education to vice chancellors of Nigerian universities for guidance and full compliance.”

The NUC had, on March 19, ordered the closure of tertiary institutions for one month as part of the measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Four days after the closure, the Academic Staff Union of Universities declared a “total and indefinite strike” over the failure of the Federal Government to keep to the 2019 Memorandum of Action and over the lingering crisis on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System.

The union had begun a two-week warning strike on March 9, after which the lecturers embarked on a full strike.

The PUNCH reports that the five contentious issues in the 2019 MoA are the revitalisation fund for universities, outstanding earned academic allowances, renegotiation of the 2009 agreement, proliferation of universities, particularly by state governments, and the establishment of visitation panels to universities.

The Punch

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