REACTION OF MADONNA UNIVERSITY TO THE ALLEGED VIOLATION OF THE RIGHTS OF MESSRS STANLEY OKOYE AND GA-LIM AONDOFA LORD
We are solicitors to Madonna University, Elele, and we have been instructed by our client to issue this public notice.
The attention of our client has been drawn to various reports in the media about the alleged violation of the rights of two of its students, namely Messrs Stanley Okoye and Ga-Lim Aondofa Lord. It is not the practice of our client to join issues with its students on the pages of newspapers and in the media generally over issues bothering on purely internal disciplinary issues of the institution. However, because of concerns that have been expressed by well-wishers over the campaign of calumny mounted by these two students against the institution in the last few weeks, we feel compelled to make the following clarifications.
It is noteworthy that the students in question (Stanley Okoye and Ga-Lim Aondofa Lord) have already instituted a civil suit at the Enugu Division of the Federal High Court against our client in which they have alleged a violation of their fundamental rights and seeking several reliefs and this case is still pending in court. Additionally, the students have also filed a formal petition with the National Human Rights Commission making similar allegations.
Ordinarily, as law abiding citizens, we should stop here and not comment further in deference to these dispute-resolution machineries already in place. However, because the students in question have gone ahead to make wild allegations in the Press, we felt compelled to also offer some explanation for the benefit of the public.
Our client informs us that the issues between the two students (Stanley Okoye and Ga-Lim Aondofa Lord) and the University’s constituted authority predates the present events. At several times in the past, they had been found culpable of vices such as examination malpractices, drug abuse and distribution, including academic failure which led to rustication, suspension and loss of an academic year. The recalcitrant tendencies of these students have been of grave concern to the school authorities, particularly in the light of the institution’s responsibility to safeguard the lives of both staff and students of the institution.
As regards the current event, the Security Department of the Institution received a report of fighting amongst students contrary to section 1.14 of the Student’s Handbook. On their arrival at the scene, the security operatives apprehended several students who confessed during investigations that they were members of a secret cult and unanimously pointed out that Stanley Okoye and Ga-Lim Aondofa Lord were leaders of the secret cult. The two students were then invited for questioning and when they could not satisfactorily answer the questions posed to them, the Chief Security Officer decided to refer them to the Disciplinary Committee as is required by the Institution’s Rules. The two students were displeased with him and resorted to entreaties but when that failed, they employed the use of threats.
A few days later, the Chief Security Officer of the institution was on his way back to the Campus from Enugu and boarded a commercial bus. He was surprised when the students also boarded the same bus with him. Sensing trouble, he immediately alerted the Divisional Police Officer of Agbani Police Station and the school authorities about the development. As soon as majority of the passengers had disembarked from the vehicle, the students attacked the Chief Security Officer. The Chief Security Officer had to fight back to defend himself and in the altercation that ensued, injuries were sustained on both sides and it took the intervention of passersby to rescue the Chief Security Officer, with the students escaping into the nearby bush.
When the school authorities received the information from the Chief Security Officer that he spotted the students in town, they checked the list of all those approved to leave the Institution (Madonna University is a one hundred percent boarding Institution and students only leave the Institution’s premises with permission/approval). When it was discovered that their names were not on the list, an emergency assembly of all students was called and a roll-call was taken which confirmed that they were not within the premises. However, much later, as soon as the students came back and jumped over the fence into the premises, the security department was alerted and they immediately went to apprehend the students with the intention of handing them over to the appropriate authority. The team was led by the Chief Security Officer but when the students were asked to follow the security operatives to their office, they refused and attacked the security team. In a bid to defend themselves, the encounter turned violent with the students inflicting injuries of various degrees on the security officers. Eventually, the injured Chief Security Officer and the two students were taken to the Agbani Police Station where they were asked to go and obtain medical treatment for the wounded first and return subsequently. They were then admitted at the Madonna University Teaching Hospital where they underwent medical treatment. When they were certified fit some time later, they instituted an action against the school authority and commenced this campaign of calumny against the Institution. All documents substantiating the foregoing assertions are available on request from the Institution.
Finally, we are at a loss why students, who have gone to court to seek redress, would still be engaging in unorthodox means to express their alleged grievance with the aid of their parents. However, as from now on, our client will not fold its arms and watch undisciplined students tarnish its image.
For: Festus Keyamo Chambers
FESTUS UKPE, ESQ (Counsel) & B.I. DAKUM, ESQ (Counsel)