By ABDULSALAM YUSSUF HUSSAIN, Ibadan
Ibadan branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has cautioned Governor Seyi Makinde against the reopening of schools in the state.
The association made the plea in a press statement signed its Chairman, Barrister Oluwole Akintayo, on Wednesday.
It reports that Governor Makinde had on June 15 ordered the resumption of Primary 6, JSS3 and SS3 students in the state.
According to the statement, even though the association understands that “the rationale for the resumption of the above categories of students is to enhance their preparation for forthcoming state and national examinations”, the decision to announce the resumption of the final year students, which was based on the assumption that in the next two weeks COVID-19 would be eliminated or reduced to the barest level may be a very ambitious expectation.
“It is our considered view, and judicial authorities have confirmed this position by recognizing the presumption, that children are naturally playful. One may be demanding too much from them to observe necessary safety precautions to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Regrettably, some of our adult citizens still carry on their activities as if Covid-19 does not exist.
“In this context, we have not laid down good examples for our children to emulate. Despite the efforts put in place by the government, particularly the protocols regarding social distancing and use of face mask, majority of our citizens do not adhere to these protocols. Even our transporters ignore safety measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. It is our considered view that opening our schools at this time may create a veritable avenue for community spread of this infectious disease,” the NBA chairman wrote.
He also noted that “In Western Cape Province, South Africa, 98 teachers, 1800 students tested positive for Covid-19 almost two weeks after school resumption. Three weeks after Israel reopened the doors to all its schools, 347 pupils and teachers tested positive.”
He added,”In our humble opinion, only children who are alive and in sound health can sit and pass examinations. It is only through these healthy children the investment of government and parents and guardians will not be wasted.
“On the auspicious occasion of the International Day of the African Child celebrated today, the 16th day of June, 2020 we call on the Governor of Oyo State, His Excellency, Engr. Seyi Makinde FNSE, to reconsider the decision that schools some pupils and students resume on the 29th day of June, 2020, until there is sufficient scientific evidence that positively indicates that the safety and well-being of our pupils and students, their teachers and other workers, their parents and guardians and other family members, and the good people of Oyo State, are guaranteed.
“We therefore appeal to the Government of Oyo State under the dynamic leadership of Governor
Seyi Makinde to rescind the decision to reopen schools. We are assured of a decision in the best interest of children.”