Parents of students attending private schools in Ogun State on Sunday protested the state government’s decision to charge the sum of N25,000 on each student before testing them for COVID-19 ahead of their resumption on Tuesday, August 4, 2020.
Ogun Government had asked the students to pay N25,000 each for COVID-19 test before being admitted into their schools in various designated outlets across the state.
The Special Adviser on Primary and Secondary Education to the governor, Ronke Soyombo, who disclosed this in a statement on Saturday, said the students must present the evidence of the COVID-19 test in their various schools before being admitted.
She said the state’s Ministry of Health has made provision for COVID-19 and malaria test for all boarding students across the state.
The 250 MTR Specialist Hospital in Okemosan, Abeokuta; Ogun State General Hospital, Ota and the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu, are the state government’s designated COVID-19 test centres.
However, many of the parents took to the streets on Sunday to protest the imposition of N25,000 COVID-19 test on the students.
The parents stormed the MTR specialist hospital in Oke-Mosan and expressed their displeasure at the government’s decision to charge N25,000 for the test
The Vice-Chairman of the Parents Teachers Association of one of the private schools in the state, Dr. Kehinde Sanwo, who spoke on behalf of the parents, queried the government for charging the students for COVID-19 test.
“The parents here are good citizens of Ogun State and we are taxpayers. And it is so disheartening that we are here at the MTR hospital, the venue for COVID-19 test.
“When we arrived, we were told to pay N25,000. Whereas, some people who arrived earlier paid nothing. So, we don’t know where the decision came from. Some of us have more than two children. Why this segregation?”
Reacting to the protest, the state government insisted that the parents will need to pay the levy and get a certificate to show that their children are COVID-19 negative before they could resume school.
The governor’s aide said the state government would bear the full costs of the test for students of the state-owned schools. Soyombo said:
“The government will bear the full costs of the COVID-19 Test for all the boarding SS3 students in the state-owned public schools.
“All private school owners are also expected to ensure that all their boarding students are certified COVID-19 test negative before being admitted into their boarding facilities.”
The Special Adviser to Governor Dapo Abiodun on Public Communications, Remmy Hazzan, said there was no discrimination or segregation about the matter, explaining “it’s not segregation but a show of magnanimity by the state government.”
“The test is not compulsory for day students, it is compulsory for borders. Boarders in public schools 100 percent subsidy, borders in private schools 50 percent subsidy.
“However, those in private schools or any parent may choose to approach any other lab aside from ours to get this test done. What is most important is that those labs that they go to must be NCDC certified.
“May I announce to you that anybody who is capable of enrolling his ward in private school has taken it beyond the level of a taxpayer.
“When you are in a private school, the argument of a taxpayer for such does not apply. It’s the school that we are compelling now to ensure that those in the exit classes are COVID – 19 negative and provide their test results.
“So, in providing it, if they want us to be the ones responsible for the test, we have gone one step further to give a 50 percent discount. If that is the argument of being a taxpayer, the state government has also done something.
“Most of the ones conducted by the state government have been free thus far and a good number of them have been paid for.
“But whether it’s free or paid for, someone somewhere is paying for it. So, the ones that are carried out by the state may not have been paid for by the patients but it costs the state government money.”
Meanwhile, Ogun State Government has directed all secondary school teachers in the state to resume on Monday, August 3, ahead of the West African Senior Secondary Schools Examination (WASSCE) scheduled for August 17, 2020.