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Nigeria Law School shun decision to recall suspended student

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

The Nigerian Law School, Bwari, Abuja, has decided not to explain why it expelled its student, Kayode Bello, after protesting against seat reservation in a lecture room.

The Secretary to the Council of Legal Education, Mrs. Elizabeth Max-Uba, had promised that the school would release a statement on the expulsion on Monday.

This is just as mixed reactions trailed the action of the school.

While many people described the decision as repressive, others blamed Bello for being aggressive.

PUNCH Metro had reported on Monday that Bello came to the notice of the authorities after he complained to Max-Uba about leaking sewage pipe in the toilet of his hostel and non-functioning of water system in the hostel rooms.

However, issues leading to his expulsion reportedly started from his disagreement with a fellow female student, identified as Chidima, over a seat the latter reserved for another student on March 15, 2017.

The Head Marshal of the school, one Akinyemi, was said to have intervened between the duo, asking Bello to forfeit the seat.

The 34-year-old graduate of University of Ibadan, Oyo State, contested Akinyemi’s judgement on the grounds that the head marshal had earlier warned against seat reservation in the overcrowded class.

While Bello petitioned the secretary and Public Complaint Commission on the matter, Akinyemi queried him.

Bello was accused of inciting students against the school and was ejected from his hostel room, while the door to the apartment and his bed were removed.

He was dragged from the library of the Nigerian Law School on July 17, after he refused to sign his expulsion letter and detained for hours at the Bwari Police Station, where his complaint against his eviction was earlier reported without action.

An official of the Public Complaints Commission, who spoke on condition of anonymity, had told PUNCH Metro that the school had not replied to the commission’s enquiries on the case, adding that a team of investigators visited the institution, but were unable to meet with the management.

The source said the team would pay another visit on Wednesday (today).

The Secretary to the Council of Legal Education, Max-Uba, had promised that the school would release a statement on the expulsion on Monday when contacted by our correspondent on Sunday for a reaction.

As of 10pm on Tuesday, she had yet to send the reaction to an email address our correspondent sent to her. Several calls put across to her line were unanswered, and she didn’t reply to text messages sent as a reminder.

Meanwhile, Nigerians on social media, including lawyers who claimed to have graduated from the Nigerian Law School, have condemned the decision of the school.

One Hilary Ogbonna, stated on Twitter that the act was retrogressive and inhuman.

“In 2017, the #Nigerian Law School, which should be a beacon of #humanrights is suppressing freedom and #humandignity. #Shame @NigBarAssoc,” @HilaryOgbonnawrote.

A lawyer, Omoola, with a Twitter handle, @surdeeeq, accused the school of being undemocratic, saying, “An institution which is supposed to uphold rule of law cannot tolerate dissent from law students.”

A poster on PUNCH Online, with an alias Buharism, corroborated Bello’s allegation on the over-stretched facilities in the Nigerian Law School.

He said, “…Students were treated worse than slaves. One is not expected to complain or insist on one’s right. The school authority called this slave-like condition as being ‘fit and proper.’

“I attended the Lagos campus of the school in 2009/2010. It took almost two months before I could be allocated a room, in spite of the fact that the hostel accommodation was paid with the school fees. We only had access to the Internet about two weeks to graduation, despite having been charged the sum of N30,000.00 for same. Till date, the school refused to supply us with coursebooks and other materials paid for. The electricity situation was horrible and we dared not whimper, let alone complain. We were desperate to be fit and proper!”

However, one Akin Olu, @akinzotweets, blamed Kayode for fighting a right cause while using a wrong approach.

He tweeted, “I agree with being bold to tell your truth. What I don’t agree with is why he alone is surrounded by notorious precedents. Ah, abeg!”

Another Twitter user, @Seyi, aka Senior Man, said, “…Law school invited you for hearing, you ignored them… you played yourself. Your admission is a joke to you.”

Bello, who confirmed the invitation to our correspondent, said he declined it because the Nigerian Law School and the secretary neither acknowledged the receipt of his petitions nor replied to it.

He said, “I told the Dean, Students’ Affairs, that there could never be justice in that panel. The school evicted me from the hostel that I paid N60,000 for. They brought policemen with a rifle in the middle of the night to chase me out. They did not reply to my petitions.

“What if I had appeared before the panel and they did something more dangerous than evicting me? I even told them that anytime I see any of them coming closer to me, I would see the person as an attacker.”

Source: ( Punch Newspaper )

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