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Final year student expelled by Akwa Ibom varsity for criticising state governor, fights back

Student versus Emmanuel Udom

Ekpo Iniobong, the 500-level student of the Department of Agricultural Engineering of the Akwa Ibom State University, who was recently expelled for criticizing the state Governor, Emmanuel Udom, has decided to sue the institution over his suspension and subsequent expulsion.

According to reports, Ekpo Iniobong 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 Facebook post.

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.


“I went to the school to meet the secretary to the CSO and other persons. They told me that they hadn’t seen any letter of indefinite suspension. I returned to my department to get the original copy of the letter. Since they said I refused to honour an invitation, I asked my department to show me the invitation letter. The department and the HoD responded that they didn’t receive any invitation.

“I wrote to the Students’ Disciplinary Committee that I didn’t receive any invitation. I continued with my exams. By November, the committee had yet to invite me for any hearing. I went to the school on November 16 only to see a second invitation letter by the committee. When I asked the committee for a copy of the first letter, I was told to get out. They gave me a second invitation letter without the first.

“In January, they pasted my picture on the school gate without any indication that they had found me guilty. I got a third invitation. When I rushed to the meeting, they told me that I was not supposed to be invited that it was a wrong invitation. I continued to attend classes, because they did not give me a proper letter of suspension. I have taken my first semester 500-level exams already. My last meeting with them was on March 3. They didn’t prove in any way that there was any defamation of character. I got an expulsion letter on June 15, 2021.”

When the Public Relations Officer of the institution, Akaninyene Ibanga, was contacted, he said he would not speak on the matter.

“I am not ready to speak on that subject matter,” he told PUNCH.

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protesters

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Workers who live in Lugbe, Kuje, and other areas along the airport road were most hit by the protest as they made their way to the city centre to resume work after the weekend.

Policemen, who were later drafted to the scene of the protest around Dantata Bridge, however, succeeded in dispersing the protesters and removing the barricades.

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‘Anything that has to do with Nigeria is embarrassing’ Actor Alesh laments after visiting the embassy in Washington DC

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INEC unveils portal for voters e-registration

Ahead of the resumption of its Continuous Voter Education next week, the Independent National Electoral Commission has introduced an online portal for registration.

The INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, in an statement released on Tuesday titled “Continuous Voter Registration: Media professionals, INEC agree to sensitise citizens,” said that the online registration will help to reduce the burden of long queues during CVR.

He said, “In the next one week, Monday 28th June 2021, the Commission will resume the Continuous Voter Registration nationwide.

“In doing so, the Commission is introducing a portal to enable eligible Nigerians to commence registration as voters online before completing the exercise physically at designated centres nationwide”.

“This is the first time a major exercise of this nature is handled partially...

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