A 500-level student of the Akwa Ibom State University in Ikot Akpaden identified as Iniobong Ekpo has been expelled for allegedly insulting Emmanuel Udom, the state governor, on Facebook.
Ekpo was in his final year at the varsity’s agricultural engineering department when he was expelled for his 2019 Facebook post about Udom which the university described as a “derogatory and defamatory article”.
He was first suspended indefinitely in September 2020 before his expulsion via a letter dated April 9, 2021.
In the article, Ekpo, under the pseudonym “Afrosix Jaara”, accused Udom of failing to make good on a 2017 monetary reward he had pledged to the then-graduating students of the university who proved to be outstanding.
“It’s 2 years and 166 days…, yet, none of the graduands received a Naira. Even the first-class graduands were unattended to when they went to his office,” Ekpo had said while allegedly distorting Udom’s name to accuse him of scam.
But in the expulsion letter delivered to him, the university said Ekpo’s article breached the matriculation oath he had signed and violated the university rules and regulations enshrined in the student information handbook.
The university also said that he was made to appear before a disciplinary committee but Ekpo denied any such hearing.
“As its 69th meeting held on Wednesday, 31st of March, 2021, the senate of Akwa Ibom State University deliberated on the report from the disciplinary committee,” the varsity wrote to Ekpo.
“You will recall that you appear before the committee on a case of publication of a derogatory and defamatory article on Facebook about the executive governor of Akwa Ibom state and the visitor to the university.
“This act constitutes a breach of matriculation oath and violation of the university rules and regulations enshrined in the student information handbook. You are hereby expelled for this act of gross misconduct.
“You are required to submit to the dean, division of student affairs, your student identity card and any other property of the university in your possession before your exit from the university.”
Ekpo threatens to sue Akwa Ibom varsity
In documents seen by TheCable Lifestyle, Ekpo gave the varsity seven days to restore his studentship or face legal actions.
In the documents dated June 18, 2021, and issued by Inibehe Effiong, his lawyer, Ekpo also demanded N20 million from the varsity as general damages for “the breach of his fundamental rights.”
“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 read.
“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.”
TheCable Lifestyle had, in 2019, reported how a student of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) identified as Michael Ifemosu was similarly expelled over his criticism of the institution on Facebook.