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The Federal Government on Thursday said although it had been under pressure to reopen schools amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it would resist such pressure and blackmail.

The government also distanced itself from a report which quoted the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, as describing the COVID – 19 pandemic as a sham.

The minister was said to have, while appearing before the Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education, given a definite date for the reopening of schools, describing the purported existence of the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria as a sham.

But the Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Health, Ben Goong, said Nwajiuba “was clearly quoted out of context as he never said so.

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He said, “Keen followers of the ministry will confirm that the stance of the minister has been against endangering the lives of children. The ministry is indeed under intense pressure to reopen schools but will never succumb to such pressures until the infection curve begins to flatten.

“The Ministry of Education reaffirms its commitment to the safety of Nigerian children and would, therefore, not do anything to compromise their safety. The Federal Government is aware of the damage coronavirus has caused to the lives of people and economies globally, including Nigeria. We will therefore not compromise an inch in this regard, no matter the blackmail.

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“The ministry subsequently urges the public to disregard the report as it is unfounded. The report is the work of detractors of the Federal Government who do not want it to succeed in its quest to improve the standard of education in the country as well as protect the well-being of Nigerians.

“If indeed Nwajiuba does not believe in the existence of COVID – 19 in the country, why would he go to the Senate Committee to campaign against the reopening of schools, which implies endangering the lives of innocent school children?

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