Students in Nigerian public universities who were hoping to resume academic work after the Yuletide following the suspension of a strike by lecturers will have to wait longer.
This is because the National Universities Commission (NUC) has issued a directive to all universities to suspend academic activities due to the spread of COVID-19.
Nigeria is currently experiencing its second wave of COVID-19, with the country experiencing more new cases than ever. The over 5,000 new cases recoded last week was the highest weekly figure ever.
It was reported how lecturers in public universities (ASUU) on Wednesday, suspended their nine months strike after an agreement with the government on university funding and other matters.
ASUU also said its members were ready to work as soon as the government puts COVID-19 protocols in place in the universities.
“As far as we are concerned, we are ready to resume work. Let the government do what is needed to ensure safety. We insist that the COVID-19 protocol should be observed,” ASUU president Biodun Ogunyemi said.
While the government has not spelt out clear COVID-19 protocols for the universities, it had announced that all schools should remain shut till at least January 18.
The latest directive stopping physical academic activities, including in private universities not affected by the ASUU strike, thus means that until a counter directive by the NUC, universities will not resume academic activities.
The NUC called on Vice-chancellors of universities not to allow any form of academic activities involving large crowds to be organized or hosted on their campuses.
Details of the NUC directive was contained in a circular by Chris Maiyaki, Deputy Executive Secretary (Administration), and obtained by a news agency, PRNigeria.
According to PRNigeria, the NUC said classrooms, hostel accommodation, conferences and seminars should be suspended.
It further directed that universities should remain closed during this intervening period, pending further directives by FG on the reopening of schools.
“Vice-Chancellors are to please note that the directive is part of the measures approved by Mr. President to mitigate the second wave of Coronavirus infections in the country. The affected officers are expected to perform their duties from home while those on GL 13 and above should strictly adhere to the extant preventive measures, including maintenance of physical distancing, regular washing of hands and/or sanitizing of hands, wearing of face masks and reducing the number of visitors to offices,” it said.