Legal luminary, Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, has told the Federal Government that the continued closure of schools because of the COVID-19 pandemic is unconstitutional and will be counterproductive.
Babalola said this while reacting to a statement credited to the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, that the January 18, earlier set by the federal government for schools resumption might be reviewed.
The legal icon who spoke at a press conference on Wednesday in Ado-Ekiti said waiting indefinitely for COVID-19 to go before schools are reopened was dangerous as the pandemic might last for another one year globally.
He stressed that mass closure of schools, especially universities, without consideration for schools known to be outstanding in the possession of best of facilities capable of putting the virus at bay was not good for intellectual growth and human capital development of the country.
He called on government not to contemplate on deferring resumption of schools any further after the earlier scheduled January 18, because of its grave consequences on the wellbeing of the nation.
He also urged the government to emulate other foreign countries by paying the salaries of lecturers in private universities shut down because of COVID-19.
“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,” he said.
He added; “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.”