Opinions are divided following the recent announcement by the federal government that it might relax the ban placed on schools and worship centres across the country in the aftermath of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. The virus has ravaged the world, infecting millions with a large number of casualties recorded. Nigeria has had a fair share of the COVID-19 burden forcing government to take stringent precautionary measures to tame the disease. Meanwhile, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 recently announced guidelines for the reopening of schools and Churches shut down three months ago in the wake of the pandemic.
The Catholic Herald as usual sampled the opinion of the citizens on the implications of easing the lockdown on worship centres and schools, even as the Lagos State Government has announced the new date of June 21, 2020 for Churches to be reopened. Responding to the idea of throwing open the gates of Churches and schools for normal business just as the number of infected persons, particularly in Lagos State increases on daily basis, Mr. Matthew Omolade, a social commentator and international business development expert disagrees vehemently with idea. He believes it would expose children and others to the dangers of catching the highly infectious disease should the government go ahead to authorize the resumption of schools and places of worship.
According to Mr. Omolade, in view of the increasing number of infection on daily basis, it is not a good idea. Mrs. Gloria Gbenu, a Lagos-based school teacher differs. For her, if markets could open why not schools and worship centres. She wants every preventive measure to be observed, including regular washing of hands and physical distancing. She said the government should be considerate and take responsibility to ensure that the citizens are protected from being infected by the contagious virus. Also reacting to the planned resumption of schools and reopening of Churches, Mr. Sola Agha, a lecturer in one of the tertiary institutions in Lagos welcomes the idea of normal activities to return in schools and Churches.
He however, says people should adhere strictly to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines on COVID-19 to stay safe. Another respondent, Engr. Victor Ebong who works with a private firm in Lagos is of the opinion that worship centres should be reopened with the right precautionary measures put in place while schools remain under lock and key because, in his words, we are talking about children in this case, it will be hard to control them.
Yet, Miss Teniola Mosaku a student of broadcast journalism here in Lagos says it would be premature to reopen schools and worship places in view of the prevailing pandemic. Whichever way one looks at it, the consensus is that a quick solution should be found to contain the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic for normal life to return with people freely going about their legitimate businesses without the fear of being attacked by an invisible enemy.