Mass closure of schools counter-productive, Babalola warns

January 14, 2021
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The founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Chief Afe Babalola has warned the federal government against mass closure of schools, describing it as counter-productive and may have a disastrous effect on education of the youth in the country.

Babalola, a legal luminary and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), stated this at a press conference in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital while reacting to a statement credited to the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, that the January 18, 2021 earlier set by the Federal Government for school resumption would be reviewed.

He quoted the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson who said: “COVID-19 is a disaster while the closure of schools is more disastrous. Keeping schools closed a moment longer than it is absolutely necessary is socially intolerable, economically unsustainable and morally indecisive.”

The ABUAD founder also noted that the institution had demonstrated capability and capacity to prevent COVID-19, adding that as part of efforts to keep the campus safe, any student or staff who travels to high risk areas are not allowed into the campus until such a person must have undergone necessary tests.

He also argued that it was wrong to have placed blanket closure on schools which complied with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 alongside those who did not, adding that “the proposed review (of the January 18 resumption date) will affect only private schools.

“The public schools are not ready to resume. Of course, that order is directed against private institutions, which had complied with government orders. Again, as it was in 2020 March, there was no consultation with the proprietors of the institutions.”

According to him, the mass closure of schools was “counter-productive, disturbing, disheartening and had a disastrous effect on education of the youth in the country. I strongly advise that the government should stop mass closure of schools.”

While assuring that he would not go to court over the matter, he said: “What I have said is to advise the government of the unconstitutionality of its action. I know the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; and the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who is a lawyer will look into it.”

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