COVID-19: PTF made up of politicians rather than researchers – ASUU laments

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has raised concerns over the composition of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, saying the team is just made up of politicians rather than researchers, which portrays the government as unserious.

The Union also decried the inability of the government to adequately fund Universities to produce quality and competent personnel that would drive the health sector to a better pedestal.

This was disclosed by the Zonal Coordinator, ASUU, Bauchi Zone, Prof. Lawan Abubakar while fielding questions from journalists at the Union’s Secretariat, University of Jos.

Abubakar said, “ASUU wishes to reiterate that COVID-19 is real; we have seen prominent Nigerians fall victims of the pandemic.

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“But we must also say that the government have not been taking the fight against the spread of the pandemic with the desired seriousness.

“You can imagine, there is no single researcher in the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 set up by the government.

“There is no gainsaying the fact that there is a strong connection between education and health; good health is a product of good education.

“It is the investment in high-quality education, particularly at the tertiary level, that produces competent and efficient medical and paramedical workers who in turn drive the health system to its highest level,” he said.

Abubakar also decried the inability of hospitals in the country to respond meaningfully to early waves of the virus, adding that most of the health facilities were virtually empty.

“We do not need to draw a diagram to prove that the Chinese vast pool of researchers, scientists, doctors, nurses, laboratory technologists and other medical personnel were mostly drawn from their Universities and allied institutes to decisively respond to COVID-19 challenges.

“It is unfortunate to note that Nigerian Universities were accorded little or no role in the efforts to respond to the pandemic because of past neglect which ASUU has constantly engaged government about.

“Government in Nigeria seems to believe that the solution to the COVID-19 pandemic does not exist in the Universities,” he lamented.

The Coordinator called on the Federal Government to be more proactive and engage relevant stakeholders to take the fight against the virus seriously.

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