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Akwa Ibom State University has expelled a 500 student of its department of Agricultural Engineering, Ekpo Iniobong Isang over a “derogatory and defamatory” Facebook article against the state governor, Udom Emmanuel.
In a Facebook post published on November 9, 2019, Iniobong Isang known as (Afrosix Jaara) on Facebook told the state governor to redeem his pledge of employing first class graduates of the institution as well as giving them N100,000 each, as promised.
“May 17th, 2017, the 2nd and 3rd convocation took place that attracted men from different walks of life, parents, village heads, scholars and most importantly the Governor of Akwa Ibom State “DEACON UDOM GABRIEL EMMANUEL” were he promised to give the graduands double of the amount given by the school and also give jobs to the first class graduands,” the final year student wrote.
“Each graduands that was given 50k by the school will receive 100k from the governor. It’s 2 years and 166 days since he promised, yet none of the graduands received a naira even the first class graduands were unattended to when they went to his office.
“It’s 2 years and 166 days since he promised, yet none of the graduands received a naira even the first class graduands were unattended to when they went to his office.”
Following the post the university Senate allege that the Facebook post was a breach of the matriculation oath and a violation of the regulations enshrined in the Student Information Handbook.
On September 7th, the institution suspended the Ekpo for what they termed “gross misconduct.” And in a letter dated 9th April 2021, the university announced the expulsion of the student for the same “gross misconduct”.
In the letter signed by John E. Udo, the registrar of the school, they also directed the chief security officer to deny him access to the institution henceforth.
The student has however challenged his expulsion in a petition written to the university by his lawyer, Inibehe Effiong on 18th June 2021.
He claimed the university authorities did not give him fair hearing as he was never invited to appear before a disciplinary committee before his suspension.
“It is particularly distressing that Akwa Ibom State University which is supposed to be a citadel of learning, an intellectual sanctuary for academic research and a fortress for human capital development as envisaged by Section 1 (3) of the Akwa Ibom State University Law, 2009, has relegated its statutory objects and arrogated to itself a politically actuated mandate of monitoring favourable or critical views expressed by citizens on social media about the Governor of Akwa Ibom State,” Ekpo representative wrote in the letter.
“We will like to know whether the Matriculation Oath Of the Akwa Ibom State University requires students to surrender their fundamental right to freedom of expression as guaranteed them by Section 39 of the Constitution Of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) upon admission into the University?”.
The student and his legal representative however said gave the university a 7-day ultimatum to meet their demands or commence with the legal proceedings.
The demands are:
“Immediate and Unconditional Reinstatement of our Client to continue with his studies and academic programme as a student of Akwa Ibom State University without encumbrances.
Restoration of all studentship rights accruable to students of Akwa Ibom State University to Our Client, including access into the campus, attendance of lectures and participation in all academic and University activities that every registered student is entitled to.
A special opportunity and waiver for Our Client to write all the tests and examinations which he registered and paid fees for but was prevented from taking part on account of his wrongful indefinite suspension and unconstitutional expulsion.
Payment of the sum of N20,000,000.00 (Twenty Million Naira) to Our Client representing General Damages for the gross breach of Our Client’s fundamental rights and the resultant trauma and depression he has suffered.”