By Kemi Olaitan
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has called on the federal and state governments to back the lockdown across the country with provision of everyday existential needs of the masses.
The President of the union, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, in a statement titled ‘COVID-19: Together We Shall Win’, in Ibadan, warned that unless everyday needs of the people are made available “the emerging lockdown of the country may not achieve its desired result of promoting self-isolation and social distancing”.
He said there must be reasonable supply of electricity, water and unbroken chain of food items, adding that the union’s intervention in distributing sanitisers and other sensitisation materials to check the spread of COVID-19 has taken place at the University of Ibadan and University of Jos and such endeavour will continue in all the chapters nationwide
Ogunyemi warned that unless the needs of people are made available, the federal and state governments may face rebellion from the people which will be counter productive, urging the governments to see how education and health will become top priorities after this pandemic, as working together, the country will overcome.
According to him, “Access to electricity and running water and an unbroken chain of food supply and availability of other essential items should be key components of the policy called ‘lockdown’. Unless the people’s survival needs are factored into the equation, governments at the national and sub-national levels may be courting an uncontrollable regime of rebellion which may be counterproductive to the cause of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
“It can be argued that no issue has ever brought humanity so close for many decades as recently done by the coronavirus or COVID-19. The lesson in all of this is, more than ever before, the world has come to realize that issues of health and safety know no territorial boundaries and political leaders everywhere had better worked with everyone to make our world safe for all. ASUU subscribes to this winning formula and path to collective health.
“In this our shared globe, no one is safe epidemiologically, socially or physically until everyone is safe. We can conquer the fear emerging from the manifestation of this global pandemic in our little corners.
“We can contribute to the global movement for prevention and control of its spread by applying the health guides and information from the World Health Organisation and other professional institutions and agencies in our personal and family lives as well as by sharing them to help others around us stay safe and healthy.”