Legal luminary and founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), has called the massive closure of Nigerian universities by the federal government unconstitutional due to the COVID-19 pandemic .
Babalola said such action would prove counterproductive and disastrous for the education sector, especially the closing of private schools without prior consultation.
Babalola spoke to Ado Ekiti at a press conference yesterday, espousing his views on the federal government’s attempt to postpone the resumption of universities scheduled for earlier on January 18.
He was reacting to the statement credited to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, according to which January 18 previously set by the federal government for the return to school would be reviewed.
Expressing its opposition to the massive closure of universities, Legal Icon said: “I firmly believe that the massive closure of schools is unconstitutional, disastrous and counterproductive.
“It is certainly unfair to parents, teachers, students and school owners and also violates the rule of natural justice,” he said.
Babalola revealed that the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention took all of these into consideration when formally recommending that universities be given preferential treatment under ColOVID-19 in terms of operation.
“The USCDC has stated that universities are different in terms of size, location, structure and ability to put in place measures that ensure minimum risk to students and teachers in their schools, which will ensure its round an undisturbed learning and on campus. students.
“On the contrary, universities that do not have these facilities fall into the high risk category.
“I hereby urge the federal government to stop the mass school closures. All schools, especially private universities that have the requisite world-class health facilities and have complied with Presidential Task Force regulations that will enable them to implement low-to-medium risk measures should not and should not not be closed.
“To close them with those who do not have such facilities is unfair and violates the times of natural justice and therefore unconstitutional”.
He said his eleven-year-old university had a fluid and uninterrupted academic calendar before the brutal disruption of COVID-19, blocking operations and the closure of the university despite the world-class facilities it runs to prevent the spread. of fatal disease. .
The legal luminary added: “The FG should know that schools in Ekiti are safer than those located in the heart of Lagos. We have to take into account the geographical location. Any worker here who travels to Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt undergoes a special test and seven days of isolation. This underlines the level of our preparation ”.
He urged the federal government to emulate foreign countries by paying the salaries of professors at private universities, which have been closed due to COVID-19.
Babalola reminded the FG that if private low-risk universities were to remain closed to wait for a high-risk university, the ivory towers would remain in a coma for a long time.
On whether he will approach court to challenge the shutdown of private universities, Babalola said, “I am not going to court because we have not exhausted the option of local negotiation and recourse. I am a friend of the FG and I know that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) will look into it ”.
On how his university was affected, Babalola explains this; “We can’t even quantify our losses. We followed the international standard, which was the academic session from September to July before this global issue.
“We have organized seven summons in ten years. We paid salaries on the 24th of the month and no one was fired despite this work suspension. But it affected our purse. How can we pay for services not rendered? It is unfair.
“This is why we are asking the federal government to pay the salaries of workers at private universities if they still want to continue this closure. This was the method adopted in foreign countries ”.
COVID-19: massive closure of universities by FG unconstitutional, disastrous – Babalola