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By Rodiyah Omotoyosi MIKAIL
THE National Universities Commission (NUC) has released new directives to Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian universities for the safe reopening of universities for academic activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a memo addressed to the Vice-Chancellors sighted by The ICIR, the Commission announced that steps have been taken towards the reopening of universities in Nigeria following a significant decline in the number of recorded cases of the virus in the country.
According to the memo signed by Chris Maiyaki, Director, Directorate of the Executive Secretary’s Office, universities in Nigeria can now conclude their resumption arrangements as long as they are in line with NCDC guidelines and other existing NUC assurance and guidelines.
“Following the recent press briefing by the Presidential Task Force Team on COVID-19, to the effect that significant deadline in the reproduction number (R-value) for COVID-19 has been recorded in the country, the Federal Ministry of Education has accepted the request of the National Universities Commission for Universities to firm up arrangement towards the immediate resumption of academic activities,” the statement disclosed.
It also furthered that the universities should expect inspection visits from staffs of the Commission and the Ministry of Education for on-the-spot inspections of physical facilities like the lecture theatres, accommodation, healthcare facilities.
“Universities must continue to adhere to the safety protocols and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines which are very much in force.”
The NUC reiterated that the decision to re-open institutions should not, in any way, diminish the importance attached to full compliance, noting that the virus is still potent and there is no cure yet.
It warned that universities must under no circumstances, violate the full cycle of the semester system, consistent with the its (NUC) approved Benchmark Minimum Academic Standard (BMAS) adding that they are to ensure strict compliance with other extent quality assurance standards and guidelines.
The Federal Government had earlier ordered the closure of schools for the period of one month after the country recorded the first index case of COVID-19 pandemic, earlier in March and further ordered indefinite closure in May 2020.