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The Academic Workers Union of Universities, on Tuesday, insisted that Nigerian universities are not ready for re-opening at the moment.

The Union said that it found it impossible to return to the groups in the midst of the second phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Recall that the National University Commission (NUC) had previously ordered the lecturers to return to the classroom on January 18, 2021.

However, ASUU is demanding that the Nigerian Government reconsider the decision as a result of the rise in COVID-19 cases across the region.

“Our concern is rooted in the safety of our members,” ASUU’s National President, Biodun Ogunyemi, told Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday.

“What happens to congested hostels, crowded classrooms? What flexible arrangements are in place? It is a situation of emergency. I’m not sure the Universities can cope,” he said.

When asked if e-learning was an option for universities, the ASUU President said the necessary infrastructure was not in place.

“We are aware that some universities are putting measures in place, with alternative learning models,” he said, adding “some are even trying blended classes, virtual and physical.

“But these efforts are limited. They get to a point they can’t go further.

“ASUU has been talking about revitalisation since 2012. These are some of the areas where the assistance would have helped. Universities need huge funds to do this.

“People are saying start virtual classes, but more than 60 percent of our students will run into trouble – they can’t afford data or smartphones.”

ASUU initiated its 10-month strike action on Wednesday 23 December 2020.

The protracted strike was due to the delay of the Federal Government in meeting the agreements concluded with the Union.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed 1,244 new cases of COVID-19 infections in the region.

NCDC has recorded a total of 1,361 deaths in the world since the onset of the pandemic.

Nigeria currently has over 100,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

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