•Asks legislature to allow court dispense case before it
By Joseph Erunke
THE authorities of Madonna University, Nigeria, have said they were yet to make appearance before the House of Representatives because the matter involving its two former students that informed the invitation by the House was before a competent court of law.
Besides, the university claimed that the letters of invitation to it, to attend the sittings of the committee, came two weeks later after the committee sitting.
This was as the university begged the lower chamber of the National Assembly not to entertain the petition of the former students as they also lost a similar case they instituted in court and had not appealed against the judgement while another case was before the Enugu Division of the High Court.
The school’s explanation came four years after two of its former students, Messrs Stanley Okoye and Ga-Lim Aondofa Lord, dragged the university to Federal High Court Enugu division after being expelled from the university for alleged involvement in examination malpractices, drug abuse and distribution, as well as academic failure.
The Vice Chancellor of Madonna University,Prof. Chuks Ezedum, who addressed newsmen in Abuja, said even as the university had tremendous respect for the institution of the National Assembly,it felt that the legislature should allow the case already in court to be exhausted.
Ezedum regretted that the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions would entertain “a misleading petition” brought before it by the two former students “after losing their case on the enforcement of human rights in the High Court.
He said the committee should have waited for the outcome of a pending suit in an Enugu court filed by the two former students against some officers of the university.
The university don said with the insistence of the committee to hear the case, he suspected what he called ‘moral compromise’ on the part of the committee.
“When I talk of compromise, I am not talking in terms of material compromise, I am talking in terms of moral compromise because I have no evidence of any material compromise.
“But I can see moral compromise. A situation where a matter is being challenged in the courts and you are substantially aware of that, you boasted to the other party that you don’t care whether it is in hundred courts, that your committee supersedes the jurisdiction of any court in Nigeria, it doesn’t make sense,” the Vice Chancellor said.
While shedding light on the reasons for their expulsion, Ezedum said: “At several times, in the past, they had been found culpable of vices such as examination malpractices, drug abuse and distribution including academic failures which led to rustication, suspension, and loss of an academic year.”
He further stated that “the recalcitrant tendencies of these students were of grave concern to the school authorities, particularly in the light of the institution’s responsibility to safeguard lives of both staff and students.”
Ezedum also said the security department of the institution had received reports that the duo were leaders of secret cults and when they referred the matter to the disciplinary committee, Okoye and Lord had resorted to threatening the officers.
Prof Ezedum said although, the case at the Federal High Court was decided in favour of the university, the students had filed a petition to the Human Rights Commission which acknowledged the competence of the court to handle the case and excused itself from the case.