Estimated reading time: 9 minute(s)
Scores of parents of students in private secondary schools in Ogun state on Sunday, blocked one of the COVID-19 testing centres in the state to protest the government’s decision to charge N25, 000 for COVID-19 test on a student.
The test was a pre-condition for admittance into the schools ahead of the resumption of the final-year-class students, scheduled for August 4.
PLATFORM TIMES reports that the parents who in the large numbers blocked the entrance of the Abeokuta designated centre for the test ; the MTR specialist hospital, located at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, chanted different songs to express their displeasure over the levy on the COVID-19 test.
The parents expressed displeasure over the payment of N25,000 for each student before they could be allowed to do the test.
The parents who spoke with PLATFORM TIMES lamented that the N25,000 levy for COVID-19 test shows the government does not care about its citizens.
They alleged that the levy was only imposed on the students of private schools while their counterparts in public schools were not even tested .
They further alleged that there is a wide disparity between public and private schools in the state.
They stressed that the economic reality in the country has made it difficult to pay such huge amount of money .
Speaking on behalf of the parents, the Vice Chairman, Parents Teachers Association of one of the private schools in state, Dr. Kehinde Sanwo questioned why government should discriminate between the students in public and private schools adding that, they are all children of the state that should be treated equally.
She said, “The parents here are good citizens of Ogun state and we are tax payers. 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 these segregation?.
“Our children that are meant to be reading have been stressed out. Why is Ogun state government segregating the children going to public schools from those going to private schools.
“We need him (governor ) to come to our rescue, we thought it was free and we think it should be free.
“We need an urgent answer now because we want the best for our children , we are not going to leave this place. We were told the directive was from the commissioner for health.”
Meanwhile ,a government official and Director of Public Health who was at the venue of the test, Dr. Olukayode Soyinka said he was not aware of the N25,000 covid-19 test Levy on private schools students.
Soyinka said covid-19 test before now had been free.
He however noted that he was just instructed by the state commissioner for health, Dr. Tomi Coker to make himself available at the venue to provide conducive environment for the students.
He however disclosed that, the test was organized by the state government in conjunction with a private laboratory company, 54gene under the Public Private Partnership arrangement.
He added, “50 per cent was subsidized for private school and that was the information I gave to the people. It was the commissioner that asked me to tell them that 50 per cent for private and 100 per cent subsidize for public schools.
“We have always done COVID-19 test for free, that I know, but I don’t know why this is not free”.
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