Nigeria’s National Universities Commission (NUC) has directed vice-chancellors of universities to commence academic activities on January 18, in accordance with the directive of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) team on Covid-19.
The nation’s public universities have been closed since March 2020, following a strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the lockdown occasioned by the measures introduced to combat the spread of Covid-19 infections.
The union suspended the strike on December 23, 2020 after the federal government met their demands, including paying the lecturers their outstanding salaries using an older payment platform, GIFMIS, different from the controversial IPPIS.
The NUC said any further developments will be communicated to universities accordingly.
The NUC, however, mandated officers on Grade Level 12 and below to remain at home for a period of five weeks as earlier directed by the federal government.
The directive was contained in a statement signed by NUC’s Deputy Executive Secretary (Administration), Chris Maiyaki, on behalf of the Executive Secretary, Professor Abubakar Rasheed.
The executive secretary said the new directive became necessary sequel to several enquires on the full import of the commission’s previous letter, Ref. NUC/ES/138/Vol.63/151 and dated December 23, 2020, on the above subject.
He urged universities to safeguard lives by strictly adhering to the extant safety protocols and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines, which have been communicated severally to the Nigerian University System through NUC’s circulars.
“I am to add that universities on resumption of academic activities, must under no circumstance violate the full cycle of the semester system, consistent with the Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS) approved by the NUC, as well as other extant quality assurance standards and guidelines,” the statement added.