FG, commissioners foreclose closure of schools over elections

CONTRARY to earlier indications that the Federal Government might order the closure of both private and public schools across the country, to allow for hitch-free conduct of polls this month, the stakeholders’ meeting of Monday objected to the plan.

Rising from the consultative meeting with the 36 state commissioners for education, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Education Secretary, in Abuja, on Monday, Minister of Education, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, said all schools would remain in session throughout the election period.

He said the meeting resolved that academic activities could go on unhindered in both basic and tertiary institutions across the country.

Shekarau, however, said adequate security would be made to ensure that the schools are secured, especially some of the institutions where there are polling units.

A cross section of Nigerians had called for closure of schools, in view of the security concerns and the tension being generated in the build-up to the general election.

But stakeholders at the meeting hinged their decision to keep the schools running on the need to make up for the lost time during the Ebola virus disease crisis that hit Nigeria and some other West African countries last year.

Shekarau presided over the meeting in his office in Abuja, with other stakeholders, including representatives of the National Universities Commission (NUC), National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), among others, in attendance.

Shekarau said state governments would be mobilised to provide adequate security for boarding institutions that would serve as polling units during the period of the election.

He said nobody should anticipate violence or crisis during the elections as they had been conducted in the past while schools were in session.

The meeting equally placed on hold, mid-term breaks for both the public and private institutions, while also suspending those mid-term breaks already being effective.