One governor in Nigeria who seems to be in agreement with UNICEF’s recent warning that the continuous closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted negatively on children development and could be devastating as the effects will be felt for generations to come is the Governor of Lagos state, Babjide Sanwo-Olu.
The agency had advised that as countries experience a second wave of the COVID-19, efforts should be made on how to keep schools open or prioritize them in reopening plans as evidence shows that schools are not drivers of the virus.
The governor who agrees with the negative impact of school lockdown believes that there is a challenge of parents or guardians turning children into doing order things due to their continued stay at home and this in turn endanger such children with incidents of child abuse been constantly reported.
Sanwo-Olu while stressing the need for students to return to school to continue their education at various levels disclosed that almost 24,000 students are yet to report in public schools after last year’s lockdown necessitated by the first wave of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
The governor revealed this while speaking on issues surrounding the resumption of schools in Lagos State in compliance with the directives of the Federal Government during a press conference on COVID-19 update at the Lagos House, Ikeja on Tuesday.
Sanwo-Olu said commencement of school activities on Monday “was a difficult decision to make in light of the second wave of COVID-19, but assured that it was the best decision for children’s safety and long-term development, especially the most vulnerable children.”
“Last year after the first lockdown and kids have to come back to school, we are still looking for about 24,000 of them that have not come back to school. So, there is a challenge if you keep them out for that long and their parents or guardians now turn them to other things instead of ensuring that they have time to come back for learning even if it is twice or thrice a week.
“At least they have been registered since the beginning of a session and they can be monitored. If not, they will just be roaming the streets and become endangered. We have seen incidents of child abuse and all unprintable things that are being done to these children.
“So, we believe to a large extent that schools sometimes happen to be the safe haven for them. We have done the roster in which we ensure they keep social distance and we are monitoring,” he said.