Story By Dorcas Ajuwon, January 19, 2021
One of the sectors most hit by the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria is the educational sector.
The deadly virus has not only forced students to stay at home as universities and other educational institutions are shut down, but it has also taken the lives of some of the senior knowledge producers; the professors.
Nigeria has lost at least five professors to the deadly virus.
- Professor Femi Odekunle
Femi Odekunle, a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) headed by Itse Sagay has also died of COVID-19.
Odekunle a professor of law died on Tuesday evening, December 29, at the COVID-19 isolation centre in Gwagalada, Abuja.
- Professor Lovett Lawson
In July 2020, The Punch reported that a Professor of Infectious Diseases, Lovett Lawson, died of COVID-19.
Lawson, who was the chairman, Board of Directors, Zankli Medical Centre, Abuja, was said to have died in quarantine at the National Hospital, Abuja.
- Professor Oye Ibidapo-Obe
COVID-19 also claimed the life of former vice-chancellor of the University of Lagos, Professor Oye Ibidapo-Obe.
Professor Ibidapo-Obe was, until his death, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Council of First Technical University, Ibadan.
His death was confirmed in a statement on Sunday, January 3 by the registrar and secretary to the council of the university, Olayinka Balogun.
- Professor Ebere Onwudiwe
A report by Premium Times indicates that Professor Ebere Onwudiwe, a renowned economist, political scientist, prolific writer, promoter of Afro-optimism, and respected public intellectual, died of COVID-19 on Saturday, January 9.
Apart from having a doctorate degree in Political Science, he also acquired postgraduate degrees in Economics and International Relations.
He held several local and international positions in his lifetime, including serving as professor of Political Science at the Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, where he also became Director of the Centre for African Studies and Executive Director of the Centre for International Studies.
- Professor Durojaiye Ajeyalemi
Professor Durojaiye Ajeyalemi, a former dean of Students’ Affairs, University of Lagos (UNILAG), also died of COVID-19.
Ajeyalemi, until his demise on Wednesday, January 6, was a professor of Curriculum Studies.
Meanwhile, the federal government has been told not to reopen universities. The call was made by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Sunday, January 10.
This followed an assessment of COVID-19 protocols in the universities.
The union said institutions were not ready for safe reopening even though lecturers are eager to start work.