By Ikechukwu Odu – Nsukka
The Catholic bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Most Rev. Prof. Godfrey Igwebuike Onah, has joined the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS to call for the re-opening of tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
The students’ body had recently urged the federal government to re-open tertiary institutions in the country to save students from frustration already eating into their psyche, while also calling for strict adherence to all safety protocols geared towards checking the spread of coronavirus at all the institutions learning in Nigeria.
In his submission, the bishop while speaking to Vanguard at Nsukka on Monday, said that it would be unjust to re-open the economy while keeping the educational institutions responsible for character formation of the youths shut.
This development, according to him, was wrong as nations cannot run on economies alone. “We need values and these values are naturally transmitted by religion and proper education,” he pointed out.
The cleric called on those in government to urgently do whatever they can, to gradually return the children to the environment of formation and education.
He argued that there was a sense of injustice and sin sustaining the continued closure of schools in Nigeria because many of those in high places in government in Nigeria have their children in private universities and tertiary institutions outside the country where lectures are going on online while the children of the poor are loitering at home with most of them unable to resist the temptation to crime.
The Nsukka Catholic Bishop who is also the Pro-chancellor of Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT, frowned at the threat of university teachers to continue on their strike action when school reopens, pointing out that their situation can no longer be defended.
According to him, “whereas we support whatever effort teachers may make to use legitimate means of getting what is their right, they should bear in mind that it is immoral or sinful for them to continue to be paid for work they are not doing.”
He argued that whatever may be the disagreement between university teachers and the government must not be settled at the expense of students and their parents.
The Nsukka Catholic Bishop called for all hands to be on deck to return “our children to schools in such a way as to protect them from coronavirus and also protect them from the greater virus of crime and idleness.”