The House of Representatives has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse the decision of the Federal Ministry of Education to withdraw Nigeria from participating in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination and other similar examinations.
Last week, the House Committee on Basic Education and Services, headed by Julius Ihovbere made the same appeal to the Federal Government.
The lawmakers also urged the Minister of Education to immediately implement the health safety measures outlined by the Federal Executive Counci| for the conduct of the examinations as well as provide soap, hand sanitizers and all other requirements stipulated by NCDC.
The Green Chamber thereafter mandated the Committees on Basic Education, Healthcare Services, Water Resources and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance and report back to the house within two weeks.
The House resolutions were sequel to a motion of urgent national importance by a member Nnolim Nnaji and 6 other members, viz: RepsToby Okechukwu, Julius Ihovbere, Awaji-Inombek Abianfe, Usman Abdullahi, Abubakar Abdullahi and Bukola Oyewo
While moving the motion, Nnaji noted the world is enmeshed with the COVlD-19 pandemic with its health and socio economic consequences around the world and particularly Nigeria, which has resulted in loss of lives. economic resources, threatened the universal educational system and adversely devastated the global health system.
He also noted the World Health Organisation alongside other health institutions around the world are intensifying efforts toward the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He continued: “Further notes the annual West African School Certificate Examinations scheduled to hold between April 6th and June 5th 2020 was shifted between August 3rd and September 51h 2020 due to COVlD-19 pandemic.
“Observed that the choice of August 3rd to September 5th 2020 period for the conduct of the examination was not arbitrarily set, rather, WAEC consulted extensively with the government of all the five countries that constitutes the council before arriving at the new exam date and duration.
“Aware that the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajuba on Monday, July 6, 2020 during a briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVlD-l9 in Abuja announced that Nigeria would participate in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination scheduled between August 4, 2020 and September 5, 2020.

“Further Aware that the Minister of State also announced that school facilities would be available to the affected students for revision classes.”

The lawmaker expressed concern that on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu also announced that schools under control of the federal government will not be opening for the forthcoming WAEC exams and urged state governments to toe the line of the federal government.
He expressed worry over the contradictory pronouncements of the top officials of the federal government within such a short space of time.
“Worried that Nigeria‘s non-participation in this year’s examinations portends serious psychoiogicai, socio economic and health effects on the students as well as the already overburdened parents and guardians.
“Also Worried that the negative and culminating effects of the government’s action in seeking to withdraw Nigerian students from the examinations will be devastating on our educational system and Nigeria‘s economy at large, ” he said.
According to Nnaji and others, the sudden policy reversal is and will be detrimental and create further confusion and uncertainty in the educational sector as well as frustrate the student’s lifelong ambitions and send wrong signals to stakeholders and investors,
He added: “Cognizant that in taking precautionary health and safety measures, the federal government reopened markets, airports, inter-state travels, religious centers, banks, etc.
“Convinced that the government could apply the same safety measures towards schooi’s resumption to enable Nigeria participate in exit examinations.
“Encouraged that with the successes recorded from the gradual reopening of the economy, its application in the educational sector in screening, decontamination, additional centers and supervisors, as welt as strict compliance with NCDC guidelines on social distancing, hand washing, use of facemasks and sanitizers wilt contain the spread of the virus
“Hopeful that the adoption of comprehensive and adequate NCDC preventive guidelines in the school and exam centers coupled with pre-attendance testing of the students at least two weeks to the exams in adherence to the WHO and NCDC guidelines will no doubt guarantee that the pandemic will be of no effect in the period and process of the examinations,” they said.
When the Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila called for a voice vote, the motion was supported by most members.