CLAIM: On April 7, 2020, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted reports published by several online platforms claiming that the Federal Government of Nigeria has announced Monday, June 1, 2020, as resumption date for all Universities and Polytechnics in Nigeria.
FACT: Following the Coronavirus Pandemic, the Federal Government of Nigeria in March 2020, announced the closure of all schools in the country until further notice. The Federal Ministry of Education said the closure is part of measures needed to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
A review of the news blogs shows that the reports relied on the timeframe in the release by the government for closure of school in March 2020 as the basis for concluding that schools will be reopened on June 1, 2020.
‘’We may recall that Mr Sonny Echono on behalf of the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Education, Adamu Adamu directed all 104 Unity Schools in the Country should close on or before 26th of March 2020 for one month as a proactive measure to contain the spread of the Coronavirus also known as COVID-19,” the reports said.
Our investigation reveals that none of the news sources quoted who made the declaration for a resumption as most of them used the picture of President Muhammadu Buhari without attributing it to him.
Nwajiuba said “The Federal Government is not ready to put children at risk by opening schools. “The President addressed the issue of the opening of the economy gradually. Until that is done, we cannot foresee or immediately tell you when all the schools will be reopened.”
The minister of state for education said it will be improper for the Federal Government to give a definite date for resumption.
He said: “It has to be in tandem with these opening terms. We don’t want to put our children at risk. None of these schools can function on their own without society.’’
Furthermore, in the directive easing the total lockdown placed on Lagos, Ogun, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, President Muhammadu Buhari said schools all over the country will remain closed for further evaluation, and encouraged school authorities to continue with e-learning and virtual teaching.
A review of the official website of the Ministry and other online channels also shows the ministry did not release such directive to schools as the reports claim.
Rather, the Ministry, in response to our enquiries, posted a rebuttal on its official Facebook page. It reads ‘’ FAKE NEWS ALERT!!!! There is currently no confirmed date on the resumption of Schools Nationwide. These are purported news articles to dissuade the public. Kindly Disregard.”
In the last 24 hours, Nigeria recorded 386 new cases of the virus, its highest number of people testing positive to the novel Coronavirus since it was first detected in Nigeria in February.
The Federal Government of Nigeria is yet to set a definite date for the opening of schools across the country. CDD is urging parents, schools, and students to disregard the rumour being peddled online by bloggers and on social media.