President Goodluck Jonathan has appealed to the Nigerian Union of Teachers to shelve its plan to embark on strike in protest against government’s directive that schools should resume on September 22.
The NUT had maintained that it would be unsafe for schools to resume on September 22 until the country was completely rid of the Ebola Virus Disease.
But President Jonathan, who spoke with state house correspondents in Abuja on Tuesday, said instead of going on strike, the NUT should commend government on its handling of the outbreak of the Ebola disease.
He said, “I will plead with NUT and other unions that this does not require industrial action. They should commend government.
“They worked with us, they are Nigerians; all Nigerians must work together to make sure that we contain Ebola. Why do we want to create problems while it is not necessary? It is uncalled for.”
He said without threat by NUT to go on strike, government had been taking appropriate steps to contain the Ebola disease.
“Government is not a fool, is not any labour body that asked us to take that decision, we took it because we felt that we must protect our citizens.”
The President, who said there was currently no Ebola case in Nigeria, added that the country had successfully managed the outbreak.
He assured that measures had been put in place to avert the importation of the disease into the country as did the Liberian index case, the late Patrick Sawyer.
“We are sure that even if one mad Sawyer comes again, nobody will contract Ebola. We have managed Ebola very well.
The world is happy. We must tell the world that no Nigerian should be suspected of Ebola and that is the position of government,” he said.
Jonathan, who thanked Nigerians and the governments of Lagos and Rivers states for their cooperation with the Federal Government in successfully combating the disease, also lamented the treatment meted out to Nigerians abroad on the account of the outbreak of the disease.
He added that further closure of schools and other government institutions would send wrong signals to other countries.
He said, “You see one thing people don’t know and that is why all these Labour Unions, NUT, if you are in Nigerian today and you travel to some countries they don’t even want you to enter the countries.
“Our athletes were segregated in China, they had to returned to the country. A place like China asked Ministers of the Federal Republic to show prove of ebola free certificate, very discouraging. And what people don’t know is that as long as you close your institutions because of Ebola, the ambassadors that are here with us and the high commissioners send what you call dispatches to their home states about what is happening in our country monthly.
“As long as we Nigerians close all our public institutions because of Ebola, the dispatch that goes to the whole world is that Ebola is a problem in Nigeria. And as long as we declare that Ebola is a problem in Nigeria, any Nigerian that travels out will be treated as someone that has Ebola.
“We have been able to manage Ebola and the whole world is happy with us and we must tell the whole world that we have managed Ebola and no Nigerian should be segregated because of Ebola.
“In fact, Osun State was to have their festival and the news came to me to cancel it. I said no, Ebola is no longer a threat in Nigeria and we must tell the world that we have been able to contain Ebola.
“Yes, Ebola is in the West Coast. It could happen in Ghana, it could happen in Senegal or any of the West African countries or beyond but they have not closed down their institutions. If we still have Ebola definitely we will not open any of our institutions but we don’t have Ebola.”
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