Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
A Federal High Court of Justice sitting in Bauchi has set aside the expulsion of a student of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi.
In fundamental rights enforcement suit number FHC/BAU/CS/24/2013, Mr. Victor Oboh Alom, a 300 level student of Electrical and Electronics Engineering had approached the court challenging the universityâ€™s decision to expel him.
The student was sometime in 2013 wrongly expelled on allegation that he entered the examination hall with foreign materials after the invigilator drew his attention to which he in surprise shouted Jesus.
The student said they were asked to bring their personal steam tables to the examination hall, despite paying the university management refused to provide them for the students and asked them to come with their personal ones to the examination hall.
Alom said when the invigilator asked for the steam table, he removed his from his bag and handed it to him, unknown to him, he forgot the sheets he used to solve past question papers inside the steam table.
He said he explained to the invigilator, but the invigilator insisted that he must sign the examination malpractice form, adding that it was three minutes into the examination and he had not written anything apart from his registration number.
The student said he refused to sign the form, but the examinations officer, a professor advised him to sign so that he could testify before the senate what transpired in the hall.
He said he discovered that he had only 30 minutes to the end of the examination so he decided to write the paper and signed the form so that he would be allowed to write the examination.
After proper investigation by the Examination Misconduct Committee of the School of Engineering, he said he was not found guilty of examination malpractice. He was later invited by the Senateâ€™s Examination Misconduct Committee, which after investigating the case also did not find him guilty of examination malpractice, and seeing the negligent of the school management to provide the examination material, recommended a warning letter to the student for disturbing in the examination hall.
The student said after the warning letter, he discovered that his safety was no longer guaranteed and sought for transfer to the University of Agriculture Makurdi. When he took the transfer form to the supervisor for endorsement, he said the supervisor not only refused to sign, but also told him that he would not escape, that he (the supervisor) will petition the decision of the senate and make sure that he was expelled.
Alom explained that the supervisor not only sat on his transfer form until February 18, 2013, but he was issued the expulsion letter.
Delivering the judgement, Justice Shitu Abubakar declared the expulsion null and void and without effect and ordered the university to immediately reinstate the student with full rights and privileges as a student of ATBU.
Justice Abubakar then ordered that N1 million should be paid to the student by the university as general damages.
Acknowledging the judgement, counsel to the plaintiff, Chinenye Nwogu hailed the verdict as a vindication of his clientâ€™s innocence, saying that indeed the court is the last hope of the common man.