Legal icon and the founder of Afe Babalola University, Chief Afe Babalola, has condemned the decision of the Federal government cancelling Nigeria’s participation in the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination WASSCE.
He warned that “a year of idleness for 1.5million people may breed frustration and promote criminality”.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had on July 8 announced that Nigeria will not be reopening schools for graduating students scheduled to write the examination due to the exploding cases of COVID-19 in the country.
But in a statement released today July 14, Babalola said rather than cancel the examination, the Federal Government should allow schools conduct the examinations within their halls so the students can obey all the COVID-19 protocols such as social distancing and others.
His statement entitled, ‘Nigeria’s non-participation in the 2020 WASCE: Irreparable damage,’ reads in part:
“If the Federal Government insists that there would be no WASSCE this year, the students are not just losing one calendar year, but losing an integral part of their entire lives which is gone forever by such declaration. We should always remember that after all, ‘time is life and life is time’.
The Federal Government should allow the WASSCE to take place in the empty spaces which are wasting away in our tertiary institutions, secondary schools and elementary schools which can conveniently accommodate them with a lot of social distancing and due compliance with World Health Organisation rules.
It is my firm belief that the future of these 1.5 million young Nigerians who have registered for WAEC should not be put in jeopardy. It is a well known fact that all schools, colleges and tertiary institutions in the country are currently shut down. This affords the Federal Government the opportunity to use them for WAEC examination.
What the government should do is to prepare the empty rooms for WAEC examination – fumigate the halls and the premises, use face mask, provide sanitizers and ensure that WHO rules are obeyed to the letter.”
He wondered why Nigeria is the only country pulling out of the examination within the West African region.
“What steps have the other countries taken which would enable them to take WAEC examination which we cannot take?
“Are we saying that the other four countries do not appreciate the lives of their students? Why was the issue not turned over to the Nigerian body of WAEC or the general body of WAEC in Accra before the declaration of withdrawal to Nigeria?
“Did the Hon. Minister take into consideration the moral and legal implication of Nigeria as a signatory to WAEC laws or the effect of such unilateral declaration of withdrawal?
“All that is required to take the WAEC examination is proper management, consultation, and discussion instead of unilateral cancellation of annual international convention,” Babalola stated.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and other prominent Nigerians have spoken out against the decision to cancel the examination.