The Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, has approved the reopening of schools and worship centres across the state. Governor Abiodun disclosed this while speaking at a press conference in Abeokuta on Wednesday.
During his address, the governor said primary and secondary schools would resume August 4 while worship centres may reopen on August 14.
“On education, we appreciate the fact that only properly prepared and equipped youth of today will take the advantages and benefits of the future we are building. Education is a major pillar upon which we hope to build a better future for our children and grandchildren. We appreciate its importance so much that even in the heat of the COVID and its effects, we were the first to organise e-classes through the Ogun Digi-class to keep our students safe whilst engaging in their studies and ensuring that learning continues.
“In this direction, we have put in place a multi-dimensional approach towards ensuring that our students resume learning in a safe and healthy environment. Our fear is that children are mostly asymptomatic even as carriers. These asymptomatic carriers might go back home after contracting the virus innocently and the transmission continues to their parents, or grandparents, cousins, aunties and thus increase the spread of the virus.
“I want to inform the people of Ogun State that, with or without COVID, the children of Ogun State and their education will remain our biggest priority. We have continued to engage different stakeholders in the educational sector and we have received far-reaching recommendations.
“Towards this direction, we have made available to all public and private schools a Risk Assessment Form on www.ogmoest.org to assess their readiness and close identified gaps before the resumption of academic activities. We are happy that the Federal Government and the external examination bodies, especially the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC), have agreed on resumption dates and dates of examination especially for the exit classes.”
The governor noted that the third term for schools has been cancelled adding that there will be an automatic promotion for all the students.
He also stated that any school that fails to comply with the reopening guidelines will not be allowed to reopen.
“As a matter, it should be noted that any school, whether private or public, that fails to comply with these guidelines will not be allowed to reopen.
“Let me also state that, with the exception of students in the exit classes, all students in our schools would enjoy automatic promotion to the next class. The Basic Certificate Examination (BECE), National Business and Technical Education Board (NABTEB) and Common Entrance Examination into the 33 Model Schools with boarding facilities in our dear State will be announced on a later date.
“Let me use this opportunity to implore all our parents, teachers and all other stakeholders in the Education sector of our dear State to continue to ensure the safety of our children. You all need to pay special attention to all these pupils and students and ensure that they take to all the precautionary advice and measures as soon as the schools are reopened.
“We cannot afford the spread of this pandemic in schools and our homes. By doing this, you will not only join in the fight against the coronavirus but also share in the Government efforts towards the successful implementation of our “Building our Future Together” Agenda.”
On reopening of worship centres, Governor Abiodun said the government has continued to engage the leadership of the two religious bodies, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the League of Imams and Alfas on the modalities for the reopening of religious houses.
He disclosed that Friday, 14th August 2020, has been tentatively fixed for the reopening of worship centres, urging religious leaders to ensure that they abide by the measures mutually agreed upon and rolled out.
According to Abiodun, the guidelines include that all congregants must wear their face masks appropriately (that is, No facemask, No entry), adequate provision of running water, temperature checks at all times amongst others.
He stated that the government will not hesitate to impose severe sanctions on worship centres that fail to comply with the laid down guidelines.
“We have continued to engage the leadership of the two religious bodies, as represented by Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the League of Imams and Alfas on the modalities for the reopening of the religious houses.
“And, we thank them for their understanding, support and solidarity. In fact, the committee on the consideration of reopening of worship centres has been enlarged to include the Honourable Commissioners for Health; Environment; and, Physical Planning. This committee has continued to interface with the leadership of different religious centres at several times. I must say that this has yielded positive results.
“We now have Guidelines for the reopening of our worship centres jointly developed and agreed with our religious leaders. This was finalised after a collaborative and inclusive meeting with the religious institutional representatives and made available on Monday, 27th July 2020. It is in our collective interest to fully comply with the Guidelines so that, together, we can further flatten the curve of this pandemic.
Meanwhile, the governor stated that there will be no Eid prayers across the state urging Muslim faithfuls to observe the prayers at home.
“Let me congratulate the entire Muslim Ummah on the sighting of the moon of the 12th month of the Islamic calendar which also heralds the celebration of Eid-il-Kabir, popularly called “Ileya”, which is the 10th day of the last month of Islam. I understand that “Ileya” celebration will be on Friday, 31st July 2020.
“However, having considered the prevalent circumstances as dictated by COVID-19, this Eid-il-Kabir celebration in Ogun State will follow the same pattern as we had in Eid-il-Fitri at the conclusion of Ramadan Fast, two months ago.
“We are guided by the counsel of the Ulammah, and especially, in line with the resolution of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA).
“Let me state, therefore, that there will not be any form of “Eid” prayer or any form of gathering in Ogun State. Therefore, each family will have to observe the “Eid” prayer at home. We beseech our citizens to stay safe by staying at home.
“And, there will not be any festivities or any gathering that violate the COVID-19 protocols of not more than 20 people at a time. We want to thank the entire Muslim Ummah for their thoughtfulness and consent that this year’s prayers will be observed privately and solemnly. I pray that we will all celebrate many more Eid-il-Kabir in the land of the living and in good health, Amin! Let me also remind all of us that the initial precautionary measures are still in place.”
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