By Boluwaji Obahopo
LOKOJA—The Federal University Lokoja is reportedly engulfed in protest that has pitched some academic staff and students against the school management over the expulsion of some students for examination malpractices.
The school, yesterday, was heavily guarded at all strategic locations by security men following a perceived security breach by Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, SSANU, who were protesting over lopsidedness in the financial administration of the school.
One of those purportedly expelled by the school, Lydia Lawal, is an orphan who is calling on human rights activists and lawyers to come to her aid and that of 12 others.
Lydia narrated her predicament on her Facebook account with the title This is the voice of a helpless student! We need Justice!
She said she was rusticated by the school over leaked examination paper which she knew nothing about, but was roped in as the President of her department.
Her story: “After four years of blood and sweat my university handed me an expulsion letter unjustly. Please, I want all well-meaning Nigerians to help share my story till we get justice.
“I gained admission to Federal University Lokoja in 2013. As an orphan, I had to work in Lagos during the long vacations to pay my school fees.
“And from my 100 Level to 400 Level first semester, I was on second class upper with a four point CGPA. The issue that led to the expulsion of 13 students in my class started during my final exams, when some students were said to have bought questions from a driver.
“I happened to be the departmental president at the time of the crisis and I was called by my Head of Department to answer some questions concerning the issue, which I knew nothing about.
“Prior to my exams, I lost my kid brother which made me lose interest in social gatherings. I kept to myself throughout the exams. All this happened last year.
“We were called back in October to rewrite all our papers under four days with less than a week’s notice. Thereafter, the university management refused to release the results, refused my department convocation and so didn’t mobilise us for NYSC.
“I was shocked that after almost nine months the university management called 13 of us, which included the best student in my class with a CGPA of 4.9, to come and pick up expulsion letters, with our names pasted all over the school as expelled students.
“The Vice Chancellor claimed that as long as you were invited to the exam malpractice committee, then it was enough reason to believe one is involved.
“I am asking for a human rights activists to take up our case. My mother is a poor widow that cannot afford the services of a lawyer. Please don’t let this injustice be swept under carpet; we believe they are playing politics with our lives.”
VC confirms expulsion
Confirming the expulsion, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Angela Miri, said the decision was taken by the Senate Committee after reviewing the recommendations of the exam misconduct committee.
She said the school management got wind of the leaked paper last year November shortly before the convocation and had to suspend the department exam, which led to the cancellation of the entire exam of the department while the exam malpractices committee looked into the case.
Her words: “No school will close its eyes to issues that affect its integrity. The affected students were expelled two weeks ago after appearing before the exam misconduct committee which forwarded their recommendations to the 47th Senate body’s sitting.”
On Lydia’s case, the VC said she cannot speak on individual person involved and likewise cannot comment on how the exam misconduct committee arrived at their conclusion.
She, however, said the expulsion letter gave them the opportunity to appeal to the Council if they feel wronged, a development she added some of the affected students have already embraced.
She also said the school management is still awaiting the recommendation of the school ethics and disciplinary committee on the indicted lecturers, who aided the leakage of the said paper.