Federal Government says it has commenced the disinfection of public schools across the country ahead of their resumption after being shut down for months in the wake of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the government enjoined private school owners to engage registered and licensed firms to disinfect their schools as it would not extend the ongoing fumigation exercise in public schools to them.
Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, said on Thursday at a news conference to mark the 2020 World Environment Day that disinfection of public schools had already commenced.
Abubakar, however, said that the ministry was waiting for the additional response to expedite action on the disinfection of schools.
“We have started disinfection of schools. We have our presence in all the six geopolitical zones of the country. We are waiting for the additional response to accelerate the disinfection of schools,” he said.
The Minister, however, disclosed that the disinfection project would cover only public schools across the country, adding, “Usually, the first mandate is on the public schools. We will continue the disinfection exercise. I know many will hire people to do their decontamination and disinfection.”
Explaining further, he said, “We are very okay with that but the only caveat is that they have to hire people that are registered and licensed by the Federal Ministry of Environment under the Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria.
“Government, as you all know, cannot do everything at once but we are starting and we will move forward as we continue.”
The minister also said that the ministry had concluded arrangements with aircraft owners to disinfect airports.
He said, “For the airports, we have just concluded arrangements with the aircraft owners. Why we took that step is that aviation is a very sensitive sector where everything must be 100 percent, 200 percent, and even 400 percent before aviation people can function. That is why you see some aircraft that have up to four engines so that when one stops, the others can function because up there, there is no parking space.
“So, we are working with them and they have chosen the chemicals that they believe can work well and not cause any safety breaches if the chemicals are applied to the aircraft and other certain areas.”
Abubakar also said government planned to disinfect motor parks, train stations, and other areas that attract a large crowd of people.
“We are going to disinfect parks, train stations, markets but for now these are the areas that we consider high-risk. The ministry is working towards all these because there are so many places to be contaminated,” he said.