#EBOLAVIRUS: FG insists on Sept 22 Schools resumption date • Teachers threaten strike action

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The Federal Government will not review the September 22, 2014 it has fixed for schools to resume.

Indeed, the government said Wednesday that the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak was being effectively handled and that there was no scientific reason primary and secondary schools should not resume as scheduled.

While confirming the date, the Health Minister, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, pleaded with Nigerians to allow the Federal Government to handle the EVD with its attendant issues.

The minister also said that the United States donated hand-held infrared, instead of the 30 scanners, which the U.S. ambassador actually announced to Nigerians last month in the wake of the EVD.

Briefing State House correspondents after giving an update on the EVD to the Federal Executive Council ( FEC), the minister said that there were 19 confirmed cases in Nigeria as at Wednesday. Fifteen of the figures were diagnosed in Lagos, while four were diagnosed in Port Harcourt.

According to him, contrary to reports in some sections of the media, there was no fresh case of the disease throughout this week, adding that the 19th case had been under investigation.

He said the number of cases treated in the facilities either in Lagos or Port Harcourt stood at 10. He said the last two cases were discharged this week.

“Just on Sunday, the sister of the Port Harcourt doctor, who had died from the EVD was discharged from the isolation ward in Rivers State. Just yesterday (Tuesday) the wife of that doctor was discharged from the isolation ward in Lagos.

“So what it means is that as at the moment, the two isolation centres that have been active in both Lagos and Rivers states are empty, as we do not have anybody that we are treating now actively for EVD.”

On the existence of contacts, Chukwu said the figure had fallen dramatically in Lagos. For instance, he said only 16 people were under surveillance in Lagos, while over 490 people were under surveillance in Port Harcourt. That means 338 persons have so far completed their observation in Lagos without problems. However, the story was not so cheery in Rivers. But he said 16 people there had already completed their surveillance.

Insisting on September 22 for the resumption of schools, he said: “First unlike other countries, there is no community transmission of the disease in Nigeria; not one yet. But we have taken precautions, what we are doing, we may as well have said everybody should just be moving about, but we are taking precautions. There is no scientific basis for school resumption to be postponed. There is no community transmission of the disease in Nigeria. That is what separates Nigeria from other countries. It is what I call irrational fear, we don’t need to be irrational about this.”

But the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) Wednesday opposed the September 22 resumption date.

In a statement by its President and Secretary General, Bobboi Bala Kaigama and Musa Lawal respectively, TUC called on the government to ignore pressure allegedly from private school owners.

Similarly, the NUT through its President, Mr. Michael Alogba, faulted the government’s decision to allow schools to resume on September 22, saying, “Students should not resume until there is no single case of Ebola in the country.

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