TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Rivers State government has threatened to withdraw the operational licence of any school that fails to comply with its directive to shut down schools following Coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged the globe.
Earlier yesterday, the State Governor, Nyesom Wike had announced the closure of public and private primary, secondary and tertiary institutions starting from Monday, March 23, for the safety of the people.
The State Commissioner for Education, Professor Kaniye Ebeku, while addressing heads of private schools, proprietors, vice chancellor and representatives of school boards, in his office, warned that government would sanction any school that disobeys the order.
Ebeku disclosed that the state government has constituted a five-member monitoring committee to ensure strict compliance.
Speaking further, the commissioner said the schools would remain closed indefinitely, in line with global best practices.
He expressed: “With a deep sense of solemnity and responsibility, I must say that these are not good times in our world.
“The scourge of the virus called Coronavirus or Covid-19 is ravaging virtually all countries of the world. The World Health Organization has warned African countries to prepare for the worst.
“Earlier today (yesterday), the State Governor, His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, as a dynamic and responsible leader, has through a state-wide broadcast, announced that all schools in the state should be closed with effect from Monday, March 23, 2020.
“This is a painful, but necessary decision to protect the people of Rivers State, particularly our school-going children from the pandemic. The order of closure affects all schools, both public and private, and from primary to university level.
“In furtherance of this decision, His Excellency, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has directed that I set up a committee to monitor compliance with the order for closure of schools.
“I have since set up a five-man committee, which has been mandated to move round the state and ensure compliance.
“For the avoidance of doubt, any private school that violates the closure order will have its operational licence withdrawn forthwith,” the commissioner declared.