20th February, 2023
By Funmilayo Okunade
Legal luminary and founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, ABUAD, Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, has condemned the closure of all universities in Nigeria by the Federal Government over the general elections.
Babalola made the remarks on Monday in Ado-Ekiti at the 5th Induction of 123 medical doctors, who just graduated from ABUAD.
The former Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, said the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu’s directive, through the Executive Secretary, of the National Universities Commission, NUC, Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, was not only illegal, but also needless and most inappropriate.
He noted that the education Minister had no statutory power to direct the NUC to close down the nation’s universities, especially without consultations with stakeholders.
Babalola said the forceful closure of the Nigeria’s universities by the Minister and the NUC, had done incalculable damage to students of Nigerian universities.
“Under the NUC Act of 1974 and the Education (National Minimum Standards and Establishment of Institutions) Act of 1985, the Minister has no statutory power to issue a directive to NUC to close down universities. I refer in particular to section 4(2) of the 1974 (NUC) Act.
“The problems have been worsened by scarcity of money by banks and automated teller machines, ATM, all of which ordinarily make transportation back home, more dangerous than ever before.
“If you want to destroy a nation, you don’t need bayonet, bombs or nuclear warheads. All you need is to destroy the education of the nation.
“The illegal closure has adversely affected the curriculum, particularly in respect of private universities which are reputed for their predictable academic calendar and absence of strike actions,” Babalola said.
According to him, Nigeria has criminal code, while other legislations have provisions which the government and law enforcement agents can evoke to deal with any person, whatever his class, as against, deliberately putting security of staff, students and properties of respective institutions in jeopardy.
On new Constitution, Babalola pointed out that the problem that is causing apprehension among the transactional politicians is the 1999 Constitution.
“It is this constitution that has made politics the only lucrative business in Nigeria today. This is responsible for the orgy of “do or die” politics,” he said.