Give ABUAD license to produce COVID-19 vaccines, drugs, Afe Babalola tells FG
The founder of Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola, SAN has called on the federal government to give necessary approval to the university to commence the production of COVID-19 drugs and vaccines.
Babalola who spoke during the ABUAD’s virtual 8th convocation ceremony for the 2019/2020 academic session, on Monday, in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital noted that the university has the manpower to bring about the drugs and vaccines that would help in drastically curtailing the ravaging pandemic in the country.
The frontline lawyer who expressed displeasure to the agencies and commissions of the federal government for frustrating the institution’s efforts at manufacturing the drugs since last year added that these agencies had contributed to the poor outing of the nation’s health and the education sectors.
According to him, ” When we asked for accelerated action, we were rebuffed and they queried us on why we were in a hurry and added that after all, it takes four years in America to get such approval. Of course, that was not correct because other countries like America, England and India have worked on it and gotten an answer within a year.
” One of the problems affecting the country is the role and attitude of Government Agencies and the lack of cooperation with private entrepreneurs. Nigeria is a victim of the poor attitude of these agencies to the growth of health facilities and quality education.”
He pleaded with the parents to impress it on the federal government to grant the approval for the manufacturing of the vaccines and the National University Commission to grant commensurate admission quotas based on ABUAD’S carrying capacity in the relevant programmes.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria also regretted the delay in getting a licence for a community radio applied for since 2019 which he said the NUC made mandatory for students studying media and communications courses.
” The university filled all the necessary forms, submitted them to the Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) and expended well over N38 million and yet we are still to receive the community radio license,” he said.
Babalola berated the Nigeria Customs Service for collecting over N120 million from the university for the arrival of medical equipment into the country supplied by a philanthropist noting that the law exempted law, medical and educational equipment from the payment of customs duties.
According to him, ” We protested but they refused and we have since been paying Custom Duties on these medical gifts. As of today, we have paid over 120 million naira as Custom duties on these medical gifts. We applied to the President who authorized reimbursement but the Ministry of Finance refused to pay up till now.”
While advising the graduates, the elder statesman said, “Your certificate is the evidence that you have attended ABUAD, a university known for industry, quality & functional education, character, discipline, predictable Academic Calendar and determination. You are assured again that if you remember the wordings of the University Anthem and keep to the philosophy therein, you will never fail.”
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Smaranda Olarinde, in her address noted that a total of 112 students bagged First class from the 1,298 graduates for the academic session across the five colleges and postgraduate studies.
She noted that the predictable academic calendar of the university has culminated in the graduation of 6,603 students since the maiden convocation of 2013 with 103 graduates.
The pro-chancellor of ABUAD, Professor Tunde Adeniran, disclosed that the successes recorded in the last eleven years were as a result of the tenacity, determination and focus of the founder.
Adeniran, a former minister of Education said,” At the rate, we are going, I see ABUAD becoming the best university in the country, I see it is among the best top 10 in the continent and among top 100 in the world in the next five years.
However, I must remark that this will not come easy: it will be achieved through the cooperation of all stakeholders including the Regulatory Bodies like NUC, the Medical & Dental Council of Nigeria, MDCN, the Council for Legal Education and Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE, the parents, teachers and students.”
Source: Nigerian Tribune