By Abdussalam Amoo
As academic staff of unity schools across the country embark on strike, parents of students in the schools have raised concerns over the security of their wards. They have been divided over the issue of the custody of their children.
Some were of the view that the students should be at home with their parents while the strike lasted, Others believe that there was nothing wrong in keeping the students going to school or staying in the hostels while the strike lasted.
A cross section of those with the former view told Nigerian NewsDirect that they fear for the security of their wards and urged the management of the schools to release them pending the conclusion of issues between the staff and the Federal Government.
Recall that teachers throughout the 104 Unity Colleges have vowed to commence a nationwide strike from today if government does not pay their outstanding
arrears, duty tour allowance and other monies owed them which have accumulated over the years. If the strike goes on as planned, it means that no academic activity would take place while it lasts.
A parent of one of the students in a southwest unity school told our correspondent that while schools like Federal Government College, Ogbomosho and the Federal Girls College, Shagamu have released their wards to go home , others like the Federal Government College, Odogbolu are adamant on keeping the wards in school.
Another parent, Adeolu Ogun alluded to the abduction of the over 200 girls in Chibok due to the inefficiency of security personnel in the Government Girls Secondary School about three years ago. He feared that if proper care was not taken by keeping custody of the students, their safety cannot be guaranteed by the schools’ managements.
Meanwhile, others of the opposing view believe that the schools were capable of taking care of the kids. They suggested that parents interested in taking their wards home are made to write a letter requesting such.
Reacting on the matter, the Principal of the Federal Government, Odogbolu, A.N. Bassey-Duke stated that she does not have the power to release the wards irrespective of how parents feel as she had to receive an order from authorities at the Federal Ministry of Education to do so. She added that the school management was capable of ensuring the security of the wards thus allaying the fears of the parents while warning that those who still insist on going home with their wards in the boarding houses would have to make them permanently day students.
Another top management staff of the school who is in charge of students’ affairs, Mr Olayiwola added that not all members of staff belong to the union embarking on strike. He gave instances of junior and senior staff, as well as auxiliary staff who are not legally members of the unions who would still go on to perform their duties even if the strike starts on the said date.
As at the time of filing this report, there were no indications that the impending strike would not proceed.