Nigerian teachers union calls for boycott of reopoening schools

The president of Nigeria’s main teachers union called on Tuesday for teachers to boycott the re-opening of schools next week, on the grounds that they had not received enough training for tackling the Ebola virus.

Michael Olukoya, the head of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) had said that next Monday’s re-opening of schools should be boycotted because they had received neither training or supplies such as hand gloves and sanitizers from the government.

He said: “The schools are still the same as before the outbreak. Teachers should be trained. They should be provided with the thermometers, gloves and hand sanitisers.”

Already President Goodluck Jonathan has responded, saying that he would “plead” with the NUT to not go ahead with the boycott. He told reporters, “Why do we want to create problems while it is unnecessary? It is uncalled for.” He went on to assert that “we have managed Ebola very well” in Nigeria and that closing schools would give the wrong message to the world.

The Education Minister Ibrahim Shekarau said earlier this month that the re-opening of schools would be delayed because of the outbreak. Initially the delay would have been from September 15th to October 13th but it had been later moved forward to September 22nd.

Already eight people have died with over 20 being infected by Ebola in Nigeria alone. The current outbreak has killed 2,461, mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, with the UN fearing that around 20,000 could die by the end of the year.

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