The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), on Monday, urged the Federal Government to use Nigerian scientists and other critical stakeholders to fight the Coronavirus (COVID-19), pandemic.
Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU President, made the call at a news conference in Abuja while reacting to the spread of the global disease.
According to Ogunyemi, it is not a surprise that Nigeria’s health facilities are not equipped with adequate staff to respond to emergencies such as the coronavirus.
“ASUU is not convinced that the government at various levels are doing enough now that the nation must grapple with the globalised disease. Our union expects the government to use Nigerian scientists and other critical stakeholders to fight the pandemic.
“Unfortunately, what we see are groups of politicians and bureaucrats assuming leadership in the fight against the virus.
“We truly hope government officials are not toying with the lives of Nigerians and exploiting the situations for self-aggrandisement.
“So far, desired results are not coming, while reported cases are on the rise daily.
“Although 30 cases were reported as at March 22, the figure has the potential of increasing exponentially in the coming days,” he said.
The ASUU president said to prevent and control the pandemic, Nigeria needed clarity through information dissemination; and forceful measures to be taken.
He said Nigeria needed a command structure led by experts and professionals adding that such structure should include teams of researchers, scholars and medical scientists, and not groups dominated by bureaucrats and politicians.
He noted that virtually all universities had epidemiologists who should play critical roles in the fight against COVID -19.
“We need them to develop models for curbing the disease spread, taking into consideration the peculiarities of our country.
“Data from these experts will create the required pathways for speedy arrest of the pandemic.
“These measures, along with early detection and isolation, will significantly reduce the spread of the disease,” the ASUU helmsman said.
Ogunyemi therefore, stated that ASUU members nationwide shall be willing to work with medical workers and paramedics, as volunteers in the public enlightenment and professional intervention initiative.