The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) during NEC meeting, on Tuesday, directed that primary and secondary schools across the country remain shut until October 13.
National President of the union, Michael Olukoya, urged teachers to ignore the September 22 resumption date announced by the Federal Government, saying the date was not realistic, in view of what was required to be done to prevent outbreak of Ebola in the schools.
President Goodluck Jonathan, however, said if schools were not reopened on September 22, it will send wrong signals to the international community about the Ebola situation in the country.
He said already, Nigerians were being stigmatised and segregated in other countries because of what he described as the negative narrative about the status of the virus in the nation.
Olukoya, who briefed newsmen in Abuja on the outcome of the NEC, meeting said based on the reports received from all the state chapters of the union, none of the states had adequately prepared for the resumption of the schools.
He said the teachers were not ready to endanger their lives and those of the school children when necessary preventive and protective gadgets had not been put in place.
Olukoya added that most of the state governments coming out to say that they were ready for school resumption were only making political statements.
“The union offers itself at this point to assist in mobilising the teachers for the task. Government should also use this opportunity to secure adequate sanitisers and body temperature scanners for all schools in the country,” Olukoya said.
The NUT NEC has, accordingly, cancelled the celebration of the 2014 World Teachers coming up on October 5, as a result of Ebola outbreak.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the teachers have, this day, resolved to resume classes in obedience to the Federal Government directive, in states where teachers have been trained to handle any outbreak and all the required preventive and protective gadgets, such as hand gloves, sanitisers, infra-red thermometers, running water and soaps have been provided as directed by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“In states where the training has not been done and necessary safeguarding gadgets not provided, teachers shall continue to remain at home, until their state governments respond positively or the union directs them to the contrary.
“Any state branch of the NUT, which gives the national council conflicting report, we shall not fail to mete out sanctions,” he warned.
According to Olukoya, the “power school proprietors” mounting pressure on the Federal Government to reopen the schools were only interested in what to be generated from school children.
President Jonathan spoke to State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, while reacting to threat by the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) to embark on strike over government’s refusal to shift the date.
The president maintained that government had put measures in place to deal with any possible future outbreak of the virus.
He said if the late Patrick Sawyer was to arrive the country now, no Nigerian would contact the virus, because of the level of preparation by government.
“At present, there is no Ebola case in Nigeria; nobody in Nigeria has the disease now,” the president stated.