By Ikenna Osuoha
A traditional ruler, Eze Samuel Ohiri, on Thursday appealed to the Federal Government not to re-open schools in the country, to avoid further spread of COVID-19.
Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday, Ohiri said it would be wrong for the government to allow schools to re-open as COVID-19 cases continue to spike nationwide.
The monarch, who is Chairman of the Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers, made the appeal against the backdrop of the confirmation of 13 members of the Imo State House of Assembly, testing positive for COVID-19.
Ohiri, the traditional ruler of Obi Orodo community in the Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo, argued that re-opening schools at the moment would trigger community infections, capable of engendering unprecedented mortality rate.
He noted that many senior citizens with underlying health challenges in the academia would be at the risk of coronavirus infection if schools re-open.
“The fact that many of our children are asymptomatic does not mean that revered professors or teachers, who are in their 60s and above cannot be infected.
“I think re-opening schools now will be tantamount to exposing our professors and teachers and even our parents at home to dangers of the pandemic.”
The traditional ruler argued further that even schools in the U.S. and other countries were still closed.
Ohiri said that the traditional institution in Imo would continue to support government’s policies in protecting lives and property of citizens.
He described traditional and religious institutions as veritable vehicles for advocacy in the fight against COVID-19, tasking leaders in both institutions to take responsibility.
He recalled that the Imo traditional rulers’ council had since advised the governor of the state, not to lift the ban on cultural activities, to check the spread of the virus.
Ohiri pleaded with his colleagues to educate their subjects on the reality and dangers of COVID-19, saying that everyone was susceptible to the virus.
“Nobody is immune to the virus no matter the class or whatever. Both the rich and poor are vulnerable to the virus.”
On June 23, the Chairman of the Imo State COVID-19 Response Committee, Prof. Maurice Iwu, announced that no fewer than 13 members of the Imo State House Assembly had tested positive to the disease.
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control 21,371 cases have been confirmed, while 7,338 patients were discharged with 533 people dead nationwide.
The centre announced also that 117,569 tests have been carried out Nigeria as at June 21. (NAN)