With just 24 hours to the resumption of schools by graduating students across the country, parents in Ogun State on Sunday rejected the state government’s directive for students in private schools to pay for COVID-19 tests.
The government had asked the students to pay N25,000 each for the test in various designated outlets across the state.
The Special Adviser on Primary and Secondary Education to the governor, Ronke Soyombo, who disclosed this in a statement on Saturday, said the students must present the evidence of the Covid-19 test in their various schools.
She said the state’s Ministry of Health has made provision for COVID-19 and malaria test for all boarding students across the state.
The 250 MTR Specialist Hospital in Okemosan, Abeokuta; Ogun State General Hospital, Ota and the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu, are the state government’s designated COVID-19 test centres.
However, many of the parents took to the streets on Sunday to protest the imposition of N25,000 COVID-19 test on the students.
The parents stormed the MTR specialist hospital in Oke-Mosan and expressed their displeasure at the government’s decision to charge N25,000 for the test
The Vice-Chairman of the Parents Teachers Association of one of the private schools in the state, Dr. Kehinde Sanwo, who spoke on behalf of the parents, queried the government for charging the students for COVID-19 test.
She said: “The parents here are good citizens of Ogun State and we are taxpayers. And it is so disheartening that we are here at the MTR hospital, the venue for COVID-19 test.
“When we arrived, we were told to pay N25,000. Whereas, some people who arrived earlier paid nothing. So, we don’t know where the decision came from. Some of us have more than two children. Why this segregation?”
Reacting to the protest, the state government insisted that the parents will need to pay the levy and get a certificate to show that their children are COVID-19 negative before they could resume school.
In her response to the parents’ complaints, the governor’s aide said the state government would bear the full costs of the test for students of the state-owned schools.
Soyombo said: “The government will bear the full costs of the COVID-19 Test for all the boarding SS3 students in the state-owned public schools.
“All private school owners are also expected to ensure that all their boarding students are certified COVID-19 test negative before being admitted into their boarding facilities.”