The founder, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Chief Afe Babalola, has urged the Federal Government to attend to the demands of the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities.

He said that ASUU’s industrial action was justifiable because of the evident lack of necessary infrastructures.

He said this in a statement titled, ‘COVID-19: ASUU vindicated on objection to resumption by public universities’, made available in Ado Ekiti on Sunday.

He said, “This is in sharp contrast to what obtains in private universities, most of which are reputed for their moral and physical discipline, quality and functional education, hygienic and safe environment, predictable academic calendar, absence of unionism, committed teachers, modern teaching equipment and laboratories as well as adequate preparation to prevent COVID-19.”

“I suggest that the NUC, Ministry of Education and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 should advise the Federal Government on the danger of lumping public and private universities together when considering whether or not to allow universities to reopen.

Babalola stressed that private tertiary institutions are ready to reopen and have put safety measures in place to contain the spread of Covid-19 while noting the need to develop and equip public institutions.

“Many of the private universities have full residential facilities for both their staff and students. This makes it possible for teachers in private universities to mentor and monitor their students day and night. Some private universities even have lectures in the night, while some have state-of-the-art teaching hospitals and well equipped medical centres,” he said.

He added, “The government should adequately fund education so that teachers can be well paid, while infrastructure, teaching aids and research grants will be readily available for them. It is trite to note that no nation develops without a sound educational system and the foundation is really not in the primary school. It is the university level education, because it is the university that trains other levels”.

In March 2020, in a bid to contain the spread, the Federal Ministry of Education ordered immediate closure of tertiary institutions, secondary and primary schools nationwide following the outbreak of the pandemic.