The Akwa Ibom state government has inaugurated a five-man committee to investigate the case of a student expelled by the state-owned university in Ikot Akpaden.
The student, Iniobong Ekpo, was in his final year at the Department of Agricultural Engineering when he was expelled for publishing a “derogatory and defamatory article” in 2019 on Facebook against the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel.
Ekpo with Matriculation Number, AK15/ENG/AEE/013, was expelled on April 9, 2021, in a letter signed by John Udo, the Registrar and the Secretary to the Senate, titled, “Expulsion for Gross Misconduct.”
“At its 69th meeting held on Wednesday, March 31, the Senate of the university deliberated on the report from the Students Disciplinary Committee. You will recall that you had appeared before the said committee on a case of publication of derogatory and defamatory article on 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 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 Registrar said in the letter.
However, in documents seen by SaharaReporters, Ekpo gave the varsity seven days to restore his studentship or face legal actions.
In the documents dated June 18, 2021, and issued by Inibehe Effiong, his lawyer, Ekpo also demanded N20 million from the varsity as general damages for “the breach of his fundamental rights.”
Reacting in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Ekerete Udoh, Governor Udom said he was not aware of the administrative action undertaken by the university.
“We have read various reports mainly on the social media space concerning the administrative sanction said to have been taken by the Management of the Akwa Ibom State University (AKSU) against one of its students, Iniobong Ekpo, leading to his expulsion from the University.
“We have equally followed the media feeding frenzy by the usual motely crowd of political jobbers and inveterate rabble rousers who have maliciously tried to link the action taken by the university authority to the Visitor of the University, His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel.
“We wish to state here emphatically that Governor Emmanuel, a known apostle of freedom of expression, was and is still not aware of this purely administrative action reportedly undertaken by the university.
“He has accordingly, directed the constitution of a Panel comprising five members, to review the case and submit its report immediately. The Panel is to be headed by the Honourable Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Idongesit Etiebet.”
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