CDHR gives FUTO two weeks to recall expelled students
Human rights body, the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), has given the authorities of the Federal University of Technology (FUTO), Owerri, two weeks to recall five students expelled from the institution on March 30, 2017 at its 421 senate meeting.
The expelled students are messrs: Ogbonna Collins, Ugwu Okey, Mmadu Nnadi, Mmegwa Kenneth and Onuoha Elvis.
CDHR, in a letter to the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Chukwuemeka Eze, a copy of which was made available to The Guardian, noted that the accounts of the expelled students, some of who are in their final years of studies, including Mr. Ogbonna Collins of Fishery and Aqua Cultural Technology, cannot be the basis of an outright expulsion with the attendant implications both in an academic environment and democratic dispensation.
According to the letter signed by the Imo State chairman of the group, Comrade J.E.C. Adimekwe and the Secretary, Comrade T. N Osueke and copied to the National President, Malachy Ugwummadu, CDHR stressed that as an academic institution disposed and committed to truth, logic and discipline, Mr. Collins and his colleagues ought not to be held responsible for an aggressive protest of students leading to their expulsion while they were in detention.
The letter read: “You would recall as we know, that the generality of students of your institution including the expelled five organised and par took in a peaceful demonstration over the intolerable infrastructural conditions on campus on February 17, 2017.
“This peaceful demonstration of students of FUTO was, no doubt, in protest against the deplorable conditions of their studies as well as the unconscionable financial exploitations that went unchecked on campus. Certainly, this move acknowledged to be peaceful even by law enforcement agency that investigated it was well within the constitutional rights of the protesting students to embark on.
“Yet scores of arrests were made and leading to the detention of Comrade Collins Ogbonna by Director of States Security (DSS) operatives at Owerri Police command for five days without any charges against him, which is in breach of his fundamental rights to movement, fair hearing and dignity of human person.
“It was precisely this unlawful; and illegal detention at the instant of your school authority that provoked the students and which led to the massive protest of all students, while Mr. Collins Ogbonna & Co were still held in illegal detention,” it added.
The group therefore urged the leadership of the institution to reverse their expulsion decision, which the affected students considered extremely punitive and illegal in the circumstance of the matter.
According to CDHR, it was not unmindful to the examination schedules of the institution as it affects the students and therefore urged the expulsion decision against the affected persons and recall them.
The group said it will refrain from taking any other action on behalf of the students, if the institution act by way of reversing the decision and recalling the students within a fortnight of the receipt of the letter but will approach the appropriate quarters and mobilise effectively in the unlikely event that FUTO ignore its modest request knowing that the institution I a creation of law and not above the law.