Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD) Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) has said, in his firm view, that mass closure of schools in Nigeria is unconstitutional, disastrous and counterproductive.
He added that Nigeria’s ailing education sector will sink deeper into comatose, if universities remained closed indefinitely.
Babalola described the mass closure of the universities by Federal Government due to Coronavirus pandemic as illegal, saying such would in the long run turn out to be disastrous to education.
He spoke on Wednesday in Ado-Ekiti at a news conference on attempt by the government to defer the resumption of universities earlier slated for January 18.
The legal icon was reacting to the statement credited to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, that the January 18 earlier set by the government for school resumption would be reviewed.
He said: “I am of the firm view that mass closure of schools is unconstitutional, disastrous and counterproductive.
“It is certainly unjust to the parents, teachers, students and proprietors of schools and also violates the rule of natural justice.”
He added that the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention had put it into consideration when it officially recommended that universities should be accorded preferential treatment under Covid-19 in terms of operations.
“The USCDC said universities are different in terms of size, geographical location, and structure and in their abilities to put in place measure that will guarantee minimum risk to students and teachers in their schools, which in turn will ensure undisrupted and on-campus learning for students.
“On the contrary, universities which do not possess these facilities are within high risk category.
“I hereby strongly advise that the Federal Government should stop mass closure of schools. All schools, particularly the private universities that have the required world class health facilities and have complied with Presidential Task Force regulations, which will enable them to implement low medium risk measures, ought not and should not be shut down.
“To shut them down with those which don’t have such facilities is unjust and violates natural justice and therefore unconstitutional.”
He said his 11 years old university has been having a smooth and uninterrupted academic calendar before abrupt disruption by Covid-19, thereby stalling operations and closure of the university in spite of the world class facilities it parades to prevent the spread of the lethal disease. (Nation)