By Goodluck Ikiebe.
The National Universities Commission (NUC) has directed Vice- Chancellors to resume academic activities in their various institutions on the 18th of January, 2021.
According to the Commission, the directive is in line with submissions by the Boss Mustapha-led Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, contained in a statement signed by NUC’s Deputy Executive Secretary (Administration), Chris Maiyaki, on behalf of the Executive Secretary, Professor Abubakar Rasheed.
The directive indicates that university authorities must comply with all existing health and safety regulations.
The statement issued on Friday, January 8, 2021, urged universities to safeguard lives by strictly adhering to the extant safety protocols and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines communicated severally to the Nigerian University System through NUC’s circulars.
Maiyaki further explained in the statement thus; “I am to add that universities on resumption of academic activities, must under no circumstance violate the full cycle of the semester system, consistent with the Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS) approved by the NUC, as well as other extant quality assurance standards and guidelines.”
Abubakar Rasheed Executive Secretary of NUC
However, the Commission urged officers on Grade Level 12 and below to remain at home for a five-week period, as in compliance with the federal government earlier directives.
Recalled that due to the industrial action embarked upon by ASUU, public universities in the country have been under lock and key since March 2020.
Also, academic activities were grounded as a result of the Federal Government’s imposed lockdown to check the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
The ASUU strike was eventually suspended on December 23, 2020, after the Federal Government agreed to the aggrieved lecturers’ demands, including paying their outstanding salaries using an older payment platform, GIFMIS, instead of the controversial IPPIS.