Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State

Parents of SS 3 students in private schools in Ogun State on Sunday protested vehemently over compulsory N25,000 the state government ordered them to pay to test their wards for COVID-19 before they will be allowed to resume.

The Ogun State Government had asked all SS 3 students in boarding schools in the state to undergo compulsory COVID-19 and malaria tests before resumption.

Many of the parents, who took their demonstrations to the streets, faulted the decision of the government to ask them to pay N25,000 on each pupil before they would be allowed to resume.

The dissatisfied parents on Sunday thronged the MTR 250 bed specialist hospital, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, the designated place for the pupils in Abeokuta.

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It was gathered that attempts by the parents to get their children tested for free failed as they were asked to pay N25,000 for each child.

The Punch observed that many parents were locked out of the facility.

Some of the parents, who spoke lamented that the payment of N25,000 for COVID-19 test showed the government cared less about its citizens, complaining that the economic reality in the country had made it difficult to pay such an amount of money.

Speaking on behalf of the parents, the Vice-Chairman, Parents Teachers Association of one of the private schools, Dr. Kehinde Sanwo, queried the action of the government.

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Sanwo, who was flanked by other aggrieved parents, decried the alleged discrimination against students in private schools.

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 would need to pay the levy and get a certificate to show that their children were COVID-19 negative before they could resume school.

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The government in a statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Basic and Secondary Education, Mrs Ronke 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.”