A legal luminary and founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), has described as unconstitutional, the mass closure of Nigerian universities by the federal government due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Babalola said such action would turn out to be counterproductive and disastrous to the education sector, especially closing down of private schools without prior consultation.
Babalola spoke yesterday in Ado Ekiti at a press conference, espousing his views about attempt by the federal government to defer the resumption of universities earlier slated for January 18.
He was reacting to the statement credited to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, that the January 18 earlier set by the federal government for school resumption would be reviewed.
Expressing opposition to mass closure of universities, the legal Icon said: “I am of the firm view that mass closure of schools is 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”, he stated .
Babalola disclosed that the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention had put all these into consideration when it officially recommended that universities should be accorded preferential treatment under ColOVID-19 in terms of operations.
“The USCDC said universities are different in terms of size , geographical location , structure and in their abilities to out in place measure that will guarantee minimum risk to students and teachers in their schools, which in turn will ensure undistrupted 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 the times of natural justice and therefore unconstitutional”.
He said his eleven 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.
The legal luminary added : “The FG should know that schools in Ekiti are safer than that located in the heart of Lagos. We must consider the geographical location. Any worker here who goes to Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt goes for special test and seven days isolation. This underscores the level of our preparedness”.
He urged the federal government to emulate foreign countries by paying the salaries of lecturers in the private universities, which were shut down because of COVID- 19.
Babalola reminded the FG that should the low risk private universities remain shut down to wait for high risk one will make the ivory towers remain in comatose for long .
On whether he will approach the court to challenge the closure of private universities, Babalola said: “I am not going to court, because we have not exhausted the option of negotiation and local remedy. 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 has been affected adversely, Babalola explain that; “We can’t even quantify our losses. We have been following international standard, which was September to July academic session before this global problem.
“We have done seven convocations in ten years . We used to pay salaries on the 24th of the months and nobody has been sacked despite this suspension of work. But this has affected our purse. How can we be paying for services not rendered? This is unfair.
“That is why we are calling on the federal government to pay the salaries of workers in private universities, if they still want to continue with this closure. That was the method adopted in foreign countries”.
DCI Captures Ksh3.5M Bank Heist Suspect
The suspect was traced to his home in Githunguri, Kiambu where he was arrested.
Authorities believe that the suspect disposed of the guns which had been taken from police officers guarding the bank.
Two pistols were found dumped outside Kiambu Hospital Gate on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.
“The firearms were dropped by a motorbike passenger at Kiambu Hospital’s Gate shortly before the motorbike disappeared into the darkness,” DCI George Kinoti said.
Police are yet to recover the motorbike which ferried the suspect to the scene where the guns were found.
The investigation is being conducted by a team of DCI detectives from the headquarters, Embakasi and Special Service Unit officers.
The arrest brings to four the number of suspects in police custody over the Monday afternoon robbery.
The suspects in custody include the two police officers who were guarding the bank and a teller.
The bank teller is expected to help DCI with insights on the heist which was conducted in broad daylight.
The robbery was staged in a way that even motorists who were driving in and out of the building did not suspect anything.
A private security guard sustained injuries on his right arm during the robbery.
Marekani kuanza tena kufadhili WHO
Marekani itaanza tena kufadhili Shirika la WHO na kujiunga katika ushirika unaolenga kugawanya chanjo ya virusi vya corona kote ulimwenguni huku rais Joe Biden akitilia mkazo sheria za kuzuia maambukizi ya virusi hivyo
Hatua hiyo iliyotangazwa jana na mshauri mkuu wa rais Joe Biden kuhusiana na janga la virusi vya corona Dkt Anthony Fauci, inafufua upya uungwaji mkono wa shirika ambalo uongozi wa Trump ulijitenga nalo. Kujitolea haraka kwa Dkt Fauci kwa shirika hilo la WHO ambalo mikakati yake ya kushugulikia janga la virusi vya corona ilikosolewa na wengi, lakini zaidi na utawala wa Trump, kunaashiriamabadiliko katika hatua ya ushirikiano zaidi katika kukabiliana na janga hilo.
Dkt Fauci ameongeza kusema kwamba anafurahia kutangaza kwamba Marekani itabaki kuwa mwanachama wa Shirika la afya duniani na kwamba rais Biden alitia saini barua zinazoondoa tangazo la awali la utawala wa Trump kujiondoa katika shirika hilo. Hili ni tangazo la kwanza la umma la afisa wa serikali ya Biden kwa hadhira ya kimataifa na ishara ya kipaombele ambacho rais huyo mpya ametoa katika vita dhidi ya ugonjwa wa COVID-19 nchini humo pamoja na washirika wa kimataifa.
Wakati huo huo, Akitia saini maagizo 10 ya rais katika ikulu ya White House, Biden ameliambia taifa hilo kwamba idadi ya vifo vinavyotokana na ugonjwa wa COVID-19 huenda ikaongezeka hadi nusu milioni kufikia mwezi ujao na kwamba hatua za dharura zinahitajika. Biden amesema kuwa taifa hilo liko katika hali ya dharura na ni wakati wa kuichukulia hali nchini humo kuwa hivyo.
Ameongeza kwamba anataka kurejesha imani ya umma baada ya utawala wa mgawanyiko wa Donald Trump. Biden amesema chini ya utawala wake, wanasayansi watafanya kazi bila kuingiliwa kisiasa na kuahidi kushauriana nao kila wanapokosea. Maagizo mengine ya Biden yalijumuisha kutilia mkazo mpango wa chanjo ambao bado unayumbayumba na kusisitiza kuvaa barakoa katika uchukuzi wa umma.
Ijapokuwa chanjo zilitolewa kwa kasi ya juu katika mwaka wa mwisho wa uongozi wa Trump, mchakato wa kutolewa kwake umekumbwa na changamoto nyingi. Biden ametangaza lengo la kutolewa kwa chanjo milioni 100 katika siku 100 huku wataalamu wake wakuu wakisema hatua hiyo inawezekana. Kufikia sasa ni vipimo milioni 16.5 pekee vya chanjo vilivyotolewa .