Authorities of Akwa Ibom University (AKSU) has exonerated the state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel on the issue leading to the expulsion of a 500-level agric engineer student, Mr Iniobong Ekpo.
The student it could be recalled, allededgly insulted the governor on Facebook page.
Acording to his suspension letter signed by the registrar of the university and secretary to senate, Mr John Udo, on April 9, 2021, titled Expulsion for Gross Misconduct, the school authority said the senate on its meeting on March 31, 2021, deliberated on the school disciplinary report on Ekpo’s misconduct.
“You will recall that you had appeared before the said committee on a case of publication of derogatory and defamatory article on the facebook platform about the executive governor of Akwa Ibom State and visitor to the university.
“This act constitutes a breach of the matriculation oath and a violation of the university rules and regulations enshrined in the student information handbook. You are hereby expelled from the University for this act of gross misconduct which constitutes a breach of the matriculation oath.”
The letter advised the student to handover the school identity card to the dean of students’ affairs, even as his head of department and dean of his faculty were respectively advised to strictly implement the senate decision. The school’s chief security officer was also advised to make sure that Ekpo does not get into the university premises.
When asked whether the school authorities have rights to expel its students for writing what the school considers defamatory to the governor, the vice chancellor of the university, Professor Nse Essien, told newsmen on phone that students who should graduate from AKSU should be such with good character.
“In our university, if you must earn a degree, you must be of good character. In the university handbook, we have spelt out what constitutes bad character and good character. So if you are using facebook, you must use it in a very responsible way; not use it to abuse people.
“Apart from that, this same student had already been expelled from the University of Uyo. There were a lot of other things we were supposed to find out from him. We invited him the first time, he refused to show up and that is why he was placed on an indefinite suspension. And immediately he was suspended, he appeared.
“We set up a committee called students’ disciplinary committee. I’m sure it was there in all the universities and he appeared for the first time. He was very unruly; the second time, we gave him another opportunity and he appeared. At the end of the day, our regulations are very clear. We have them in our handbook which I can make available to you and the penalty is clearly spelt out . We didn’t end there. We sent the report to the senate for final consideration.
“The senate is a very impartial organ of the university. We have people of diverse backgrounds, political, religious and all that. His case was discussed there and the senate found out that the offence that he committed merited expulsion. So the senate recommended that he should be expelled. So his expulsion is a recommendation of the senate. It is not a one person decision.
Asked whether the governor, whose name has been dragged into the controversy, was aware of the suspension, the Vice Chancellor retorted; “ It is unfortunate. It is not supposed to be like that. It is solely a university affair. It is very unfortunate; and he is trying to use that to see whether he can whip up sentiments. It is unfortunate. The governor has no hand at all.”
Explaining the same subject matter, the state commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Ini Ememobong, said that neither the government nor the state governor had any official knowledge of the suspension since the University authority was an entity with rules and regulations governing its conducts and operations.
The expelled student, through his lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, had already written to the school authority demanding “Reinstatement, Restoration of full studentship, rights and compensation for beach of fundamental right, loss of academic period, emotional distress and psychological torture.”