By Laleye Dipo
The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has cautioned governments against the “hasty” opening of schools, saying that the lives of teachers and their pupils should be seriously considered before such action is taken.
The Principal Assistant Secretary of the union in Niger State, Labaran Garba, gave the advice in Minna at the weekend after conducting newsmen round the ultra modern state secretariat of the organisation.
“We should not rush into it (opening of schools) so as not to draw pupils into the pandemic
“Teachers are more prone to contacting the diseases because they are closer to the pupils. They are the first that will meet the pupils in the event of either a pupil or teacher contacting the disease. It will easily spread,” Garba said.
He said the union has submitted a memorandum to the state government on steps to take before the reopening of schools, urging the government to apart from critically looking into the submission, to organise a critical stakeholders meeting to fashion out the best approach that will lead to the reopening of schools.
Garba also asked the government to seriously consider teachers in the sharing of palliatives when the schools reopen.
He disclosed that N150 million has so far been spent on the construction and furnishing of ultra modern secretariat, adding that the funding of the project Is purely from union dues.
“We are not owing anybody on this project, we did not collect any bank loan. There is no government intervention, this is done purely from our own 45% share of members contributions,” Garba declared.
He stated that the administrative building will accommodate all the principal officers of the union and supporting staff, adding that it has two board rooms and a 1,000 capacity conference hall with a multi-purpose conference centre which is still under construction.
As part of the project, he said the construction of an Information Communication Technology
(ICT) centre is also nearing completion.
According to the Principal Assistant Secretary, the NUT has also established a standard school in a micro-finance bank and other projects for the benefit of the union members.
The new administrative building will be inaugurated soon, he said.