By Adekunle Badmus
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State has faulted a statement credited to Governor Dapo Abiodun asking each student of private boarding schools to pay N25,000 for COVID-19 and malaria tests.
This has led to a protest when parents got to an isolation centre in Abeokuta and were asked to pay N25,000 to get their children tested for COVID-19.
Government had earlier said students will be re-admitted into boarding school if each of them presents a COVID-19 certificate that shows the bearer is negative.
While the state government pays for students in public boarding schools, their counterparts in private ones are to pay N25,000 for the test.
Reacting, the PDP said it was shocked to the marrows to hear
“the insensitive request by Governor Abiodun-led Ogun State government that secondary school students should pay a sum of N25,000 each
for a laughable COVID-19 test as part of overall requirements for the reopening of schools for SS3 students to write their examinations.”
The Ogun PDP said it noted “with great concerns how a government, which ought to be a reliable source of succour to the people,
decided to add more to their sufferings, especially with the excruciating pains the people of Ogun have endured”
as a result of the current global pandemic.
In a statement made available, its Publicity Secretary, Akinloye Bankole, the Ogun PDP condemned in strong terms,
what it described as the “obnoxious request issued by the state government through one Mrs Ronke Soyombo,
a Special Adviser to Governor Abiodun.”
Bankole said, “For us as a party, such a request is sheer callousness. It signals irresponsibility.
It clearly beats any sensible imagination that a government that prides itself as progressive
has successfully thrown the required milk of compassion for the people to the dogs all in a wicked attempt to wreak untoward hardship on the people.
“Perhaps, we should remind this decorated agony called government that the central reality is that about 90% of Ogun people cannot afford such a huge burden of N25,000.”
“For us, such tests, if necessary at all, should be an exclusive right of the affected students, either in private or public schools.
They should enjoy unhindered access to such tests, if the government is truly ready to fight coronavirus,” Bankole said.
Speaking further, he said, “it must be stated without mincing words that PDP, being a direct reflection of the collective aspirations of the people,
which the ruling government has serially battered and maltreated, shall continue to partner with the affected students, their over-stretched parents
and other critical stakeholders in the educational sector and other sectors in making sure that all draconian policies of the government are rejected.
“Lastly, while the PDP wishes to extend its greatest sympathy and solidarity with Ogun parents and other stakeholders,
we make bold to say that it’s the height of blatant insensitivity for the ruling government to pass its civic responsibilities on
parents who are already over-burdened with all sorts of agonies and misfortunes that the ruling government’s ‘Next Level’ represents.”
The PDP charged the state government to “come down from its high horse of arbitrariness”
by withdrawing the controversial request for a test fee and begin to cultivate
“compassionate habit of responsibility to the welfare of the people.”