Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Oko Poly's Expelled Student-Journalist, Onwudinjo group calls for his restatement

Oko Versus Onwudinjo : Expulsion Illegal Says Executive DirectorBack To School Foundation , Pat Anyadubalu Esq In His Letter To Okopoly On Behalf Of Onwudinjo Emeka

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The Rector,
Federal Polytechnic,
Anambra State,
                                                                                                         6th March, 2014
ATTN: Prof. Onu
Dear Sir,
We are non-governmental and not- for- profit making organization that inter alia campaigns and promotes education.
Our attention has been drawn to the expulsion of Emeka Onwudinjo from your Polytechnic. 
The reason behind the expulsion of the above student as deducible from your letter of expulsion dated November 14, 2013 reference FPO/RG/AA/13/VOL 03/236B is as a result of the Emeka’s publications of
               “negative stories about the institution which you want to
               obtain its certificate you did not heed the advise (sic)”
Our investigation revealed as follows:
1.     That the said Emeka Onwudinjo was never invited nor questioned by the Disciplinary Panel or the management in respect of his alleged offensive publication before his expulsion
2.     That we also studied the publications by the said Emeka Onwudinjo and found nothing offensive or libelous of the Federal Polytechnic Oko
3.     That we observed that in several of these publications, Emeka Onwudinjo had indeed lauded and promoted the activities of the Rector and the Polytechnic which earned him commendations from the duo of the Rector and the Public Relations Officer. The following publications will highlight this point.
(a)       Students hail Rector over projects
        Nation newspaper, September 26, 2013
(b)   Behold, our Rector in whom we are well pleased
 students rejoice as Oko Poly goes digital!
Daily sun, October 8, 2013
4.     Above all, we are not aware of any law or subsidiary legislation that makes publication of “negative story” (if any) punishable. Such legislations to gag the freedom of expressions were obtainable during the colonial era and military regimes when such obnoxious legislations like Sedition or Decree No.2 held sway and not under our democratic dispensation more so when our country has enacted Freedom of Information Act.
In view of the following observations, we consider your expulsion of Citizen Emeka Onwudinjo as illegal, unconstitutional and an aberration in a democratic set up, based on the following grounds
5.     It amounts to an infringement of the student’s fundamental right to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions as enshrined in section 39 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
6.     By not affording the student the opportunity to proffer his defence before expelling him, your action offends his constitutional right to fair hearing as enshrined in section 36(1) of the 1999 constitution as amended.
In view of our finding above, we implore you to rescind your decision and recall citizen Emeka Onwudinjo to resume his academic activities without further delay
Your failure to comply with the above will continue to project the Polytechnic in bad light especially in view of the huge media coverage of your action.
We wish to draw your attention to the dictum of Obaseki J.S.C in Garba v. University of Maidugari (1986) 1 NWLR (Pt .18) 669 where the learned jurist stated as follows:
A University student is a priceless asset and as he is on the threshold of world of useful service to the nation, we cannot afford to destroy him by stigmatizing him with guilt of offence (Read expelling him for expressing his views as guaranteed under the law) unless proved guilty before a court”
We hope we have provided you with sufficient grounds to allow superior reason to prevail by doing the needful.
Yours faithfully,
Pat Anyadubalu Esq
Executive Director
          i.            Minister of Education, Federal Republic of Nigeria
        ii.            Dr. Alex Ekwueme Federal Republic of Nigeria
      iii.            Senate Committee chairman on Education
     iv.            Senator Andy Uba, senator representing Anambra South
       v.            President General Ohaneze Ndigbo
     vi.            League of Anambra Professional Lagos
   vii.            Association of Anambra Town Unions
 viii.            Media Houses
      ix.            National Human Rights Commission Abuja.



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