THE Ogun State Government says there won’t be any cost reduction to the ‘subsidized’ N25,000 COVID-19 test fee required as payment for carrying out tests for private boarding students in the state.
Remi Hassan, Special Adviser on Media and Public Communications to Dapo Abiodun, the Governor of Ogun State, disclosed this in a phone call with The ICIR.
This follows complaints by parents that the amount charged for the test is exorbitant.
But while speaking with The ICIR on Monday, Hassan explained that the state government is shouldering the test fee cost for students in state-owned public boarding schools but requires that those in private boarding facilities in the state, present a certificate of negative COVID-19 test upon resumption.
He added that the required test fee is already a subsidized amount, disclosing that the government would further subsidise the cost if owners of private schools in the state make data on the number of students in private boarding schools available.
“Yes the test fee is N25,000 for now and it is already a subsidized amount,” Hassan said responding to question on how much is charged for COVID-19 and malaria test in the state for students.
“There’s no data on how many private boarding school students are in the state, if this is provided by the schools, the government can further subsidise the amount,” he added.
Earlier, Ronke Soyombo, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Basic and Secondary Education, in a statement shared on Twitter disclosed that the Ogun State Government negotiated a huge discount in the cost of COVID-19 test with some healthcare service providers.
According to Soyombo, the state government is arguably the state with the highest number of schools (public and private) operating boarding facilities in the country with students’ population drawn from far and wide.
She further shared that private school owners and parents are free to engage any other service provider of their choice provided that the service provider is certified by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as COVID-19 test service provider.
However, parents have lamented the new requirement, protesting against the cost implication.
In a now-viral video, a man is seen alongside other parents complaining about the amount students attending private schools are requested to pay.
The man who spoke in vernacular said he and other parents were surprised when they were told to pay N25,000 for the test, disclosing that the notice for the test was shared on a social media group platform.
He demanded accountability for the support provided to the state by the Federal Government.
Dapo Abiodun, the Governor of Ogun State had earlier said pupils in exit classes – Primary 6, JSS 3 and SSS 3 in the state are to resume on Monday, August 4.
Meanwhile, the NCDC on Sunday said COVID-19 tests conducted in facilities within its molecular laboratory network were free.
The NCDC listed 61 laboratories nationwide as those who are currently within the network, where COVID-19 tests could be conducted free.
The ICIR also reached out to Gbenga Omotosho, the Lagos State Commissioner for Information, who confirmed that COVID-19 tests in the state are free for anyone showing symptoms, including all students.
Lagos is another state that reopened schools for students in exit classes on Monday.