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Final year student to sue Akwa Ibom varsity over expulsion for criticising gov

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A 500-level student of the Akwa Ibom State University, Ekpo Iniobong, has decided to sue the institution over his suspension and subsequent expulsion.

PUNCH Metro gathered the final year student of the Department of Agricultural Engineering was first suspended by the management in September 2020 and then expelled via a letter dated April 9, 2021, for allegedly criticising the state governor, Emmanuel Udom, in a Facebookpost.

Iniobong, through his lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, sent a pre-action notice to the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof Nse Essien, dated June 18, 2021, seeking his immediate and unconditional reinstatement, among other demands.

The notice read in part, “At no time did the Akwa Ibom State University invite or summon our client to appear before the university’s Students’ Disciplinary Committee prior to his indefinite suspension. Our client was not shown, confronted or availed with the purported abusive post.

“It is apparent that the university acted in contravention of Section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.

“Consequently, we hereby demand the following: immediate and unconditional reinstatement of our client; restoration of all studentship rights accruable to all students of the university; and the payment of the sum of N20m to our client, representing damages for the gross breach of our client’s fundamental human rights and the resultant depression he has suffered.”

When PUNCH Metro contacted Iniobong, he said the school had yet to prove any case of defamation against him, adding that it did not find him guilty of any offence before he was expelled.
He stated, “My ordeal started in September 2020 two days after the university announced resumption after the COVID-19 lockdown; my sister called me from Lagos that I had been suspended indefinitely. The reason for the suspension was that I refused to honour an invitation from the Students’ Disciplinary Committee.
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