By James Ibechi
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 a fundamental rights enforcement Suit No.FHC/BAU/CS/24/2013, Mr. Victor Oboh Alom, a 300-level student of Electrical and Electronics Engineering of ATBU had approached the court challenging the university’s decision to expel him.
It will be recalled that 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 the student in surprise shouted ‘Jesus’ and the invigilator who was allegedly offended by the name Jesus allegedly got angry and was alleged to have said: “Let me see how your Jesus will save you.”
The student, who hails from Okileme, Ibilla, Oju LGA of Benue State, told jamesiebechi.com that they were asked by the university management to bring their “personal steam tables to the examination hall” despite paying to the university for the materials.
He said the university management did not provide the steam tables but instead asked the students to go to the examination halls with the ones they provided themselves.
The student said when the invigilator asked for the steam tables, he brought out his’ from his bag and handed it to him, but unknown to him he “forgot the sheets he used to solve past question papers inside the instrument.
He said he explained to the invigilator but despite his explanation the invigilator insisted that the student must sign the examination malpractice-form.
The student said 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 university senate what transpired in the examination hall.
The student 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.
The student said that after proper investigation was carried by the Examination Misconduct Committee of the School of Engineering of the varsity, he was not found guilty of examination malpractice.
He said he was later invited by the committee for further probe and after investigating the case it did not find him guilty of examination malpractice, and overlooking the negligence of the school management to provide the examination material, it rather recommended a warning letter to the student for disturbing in the examination hall.
The student said that after he was served with the warning letter, he felt his safety was no longer guaranteed on religious background and sought a transfer to University of Agriculture, Makurdi.
He said when he took the transfer form to the Supervisor for endorsement, he did not only refuse to sign it, but also told him that he would not escape, that he (the supervisor) would petition the decision of the senate and make sure that he was expelled to see how his Jesus would save him.
The student explained that the supervisor not only sat on his transfer form until February 18, 2013, he was issued with the expulsion letter.
Delivering the judgement, Justice M. 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 student of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University.
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, Barrister Chinenye Nwogu, hailed the verdict as a vindication of his client’s innocence, stressing that indeed the court is the last hope of the common man