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COVID-19: Benue meets stakeholders ahead of schools reopening

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Gov. Samuel Ortom on Friday in Zaki-Biam, commissioned the 47.7 km Zaki-Biam-Afia/Gbeji road estimated at N3.8b in Ukum Local Government Area of the state. News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ortom was on an inspection tour of projects undertaken by his administration, cited within the Sankera axis of Benue North East Senatorial District of the state. He had earlier inaugurated the renovated Central Primary School and Mbaton -Amaafu electricity projects cited in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area. Performing the two ceremonies in Katsina-Ala local government area and Zaki Ibiam in Ukum and local government area, Ortom disclosed that there were “numerous projects scattered across the State awaiting to be commissioned”. He said he would commission all the projects in the coming days, adding that the school projects were executed with counterpart funds from the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC). On the the Zaki/-Ibiam -Afia/ Gbeji road, the governor said the project would boost the socio-economic wellbeing of the entire people of Ukum, Logo and Katsina-Ala local government areas. He commended the senator, representing Benue North East, Gabriel Suswam, for initiating the road project in 2008, when he was governor of the state. Recounting his achievements, Ortom said his administration had already built and renovated over 1000 blocks of classrooms, procured over 70,000 desks and chairs for primary school pupils. He disclosed that the state had another N4 billion ready for the execution of more school projects in the State. “For me I felt that there was no need wasting money for the commissioning of projects but since I have been accused of not executing any projects, I have decided to go round the state and commission them. I have many completed projects. “Our aim is for the primary schools, which is the basic foundation for learning, should be the strongest sector in the education sector.” Ortom said that his administration had approved another round of amnesty to the youths in Ukum, Logo and Katsina-Ala local government areas. He, however, warned that those who might refuse to submit their arms this time would face dire consequences. “I have accepted your appeal for a second round of amnesty Programme for the youths in this area. So let them bring out their weapons and submit, else, I will come after them with full force. “The Sankera people have suffered so much. Nothing is going on here especially in the villages. I want to assure you that nothing will happen to those that submit their arms by the grace of God”. Earlier, Sen. Suswam commended Ortom over his achievements in education, stressing that he was creating a conducive atmosphere for the educational sector in spite of lean resources. “I have been through this and I know what it means to embark on projects of this nature at this time. In spite of distractions, the governor is forging ahead. I will stand with him till the end of his tenure because he is doing what is right,” the former governor said. The Commissioner for Works, Transport and Energy, Alexander Shapera, said the road contract, which was awarded in 2008 was at some point abandoned before Ortom completed it. Also speaking, the Commissioner for Education, Prof Dennis Ityavyar, said Ortom had spent over N20 billion in the primary school sector alone since assumption of office. The Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB, Mr Joseph Utse, said Benue Government had approved the construction of 1000 block of classrooms, renovation of 99 blocks and the procurement of 42, 350 plastic desk and chairs for 2020.


By Peter Duru, Makurdi

Benue state government has convened a meeting of stakeholders in the education sector to discuss the modalities for the reopening of schools in the state after the COVID-19 total lockdown.

Addressing the gathering yesterday in Makurdi, the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Dennis Ityavyar said the meeting was to enable the government get inputs from stakeholders ahead of the reopening of schools and asked for honest and sincere contributions from all present.

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At the end of the meeting the stakeholders resolved that for schools to reopen provisions must be made for the provision of hand washing facilities, face masks, thermometers, gates, hostels, classes and offices in schools.

Also, “the whole premises of each school must be decontaminated and all efforts must be geared towards maintenance of the highest level of hygiene. Ensure social and physical distancing in classes and eating spaces.”

Present at the meeting were Commissioner for Health and Human Services who is the Secretary of COVID-19 Committee, the House of Assembly standing committee on education, science and technology, Vice Chancellors of Universities,  Rectors of Polytechnics and Provost of Colleges of Education. Others were the heads of Education agencies and directors in the Ministry of Education.

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