Afe Babalola, founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, says private universities that have have complied with the guidelines on preventing the spread of COVID-19 should be allowed to resume.
Adamu Adamu, minister of education, had said on Monday that the federal government is considering shifting the January 18 resumption date over rising COVID-19 cases.
But while clarifying the minister’s statement on Tuesday, Sani Aliyu, national coordinator of the presidential task force (PTF), said no decision had been taken, adding that the January 18 date stands.
“As regards schools, I just want to make a clarification. What the minister said yesterday was that they were going to review. He didn’t say that they were going to change the date. He said they will review the situation and let the nation know,” Aliyu said.
Speaking at a media conference on Wednesday in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti capital, Babalola said it wasn’t feasible to ask private universities with “world-class facilities” to wait for their public counterparts before resuming, as the virus may not be completely eliminated in the next one year.
“I am of the firm view that mass closure of schools is both unconstitutional, disastrous and counter-productive. It is certainly unjust to the parents, teachers, students and proprietors of schools and also violates the rule of natural justice,” NAN quoted him to have said.
“All universities, particularly private ones that have the required world-class health facilities like in our case and had complied with every of PTF regulations which will enable them to implement low-medium risk measures, ought not and should not be shut down.
“If the private universities which fall within the category of minimum risk have to wait for their counterparts in the public universities to resume, then no university will resume until the virus is completely eliminated, which is not feasible in the next one year.”
Babalola, however, said he will not take legal action against the government’s decision on closure of schools since negotiation is ongoing.
“I am not going to court, because we have not exhausted the option of negotiation and local remedy. I am a friend of the federal government and I know that the attorney-general of the federation will look into it,” he added.