An undergraduate has accused the Vice Chancellor (VC) of the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Anambra State, Prof Greg Nwakoby, of expelling her unjustly.
The 300 Level Chemical Engineering student, Miss Oramasionwu Oluebubechkwu, alleged that Nwakoby, expelled her for reporting her hostel mate, Chijindu, to the police after the latter stabbed her on the forehead.
Oluebubechkwu added that she was expelled during exam period. According to her, the VC said that she should have reported the incident to the university management, rather than to the police. She also alleged that Chijindu was related to the VC.
Chijindu, who stabbed Oluebubechkwu, is said to be from the same village with the VC. The victim alleged that after stabbing her, Chijindu went round the school, boasting that the victim couldn’t do anything to him.
Chijindu’s bragging prompted Oluebubechkwu’s parents to report the matter to the police for proper investigation and prosecution.
Oluebubechkwu, who said that the matter started on December 11, 2019, explained that she went to the campus and on returning to her hostel, saw Chijindu at the entrance to her room.
Chijindu and Oluebubechkwu are in the same hostel. She said that Chijindu placed some objects in front of her room, making it difficult for her to enter her room.
She recounted: “When I asked him why placed those objects in front of my room, he didn’t give me a reason. I then told him to leave the entrance, so that I could enter into my room. But he refused to clear the objects. When I knew I couldn’t handle him, I went to call a man known as Prophet in the neighbourhood. After Prophet spoke to him, he allowed me to enter my room.
“When I eventually entered my room, I discovered that there was no drinking water in my room and I wanted to eat. I had to leave my room to buy sachet water. Before I came back, he had, once again, blocked the entrance to my door. I started screaming, calling on my schoolmates to come to my rescue, but none of them was around.”
When she realised nobody was around to come to her aid, Oluebubechkwu decided to confront Chijindu herself. She asked him why he was blocking the entrance to her room; he allegedly told her that the building was not her father’s.
She said: “Chinjindu then told me that he had the right to stay anywhere he likes in the hostel. I told him that because he was blocking my entrance, that I had no way of leaving or entering my room. When I realised he was up to something, I decided to remove the iron bar at my door so that I would be able to have access into my room. Before I knew what was happening, he jumped on me and stabbed me on my face and cheeks.
“After he had stabbed me, Chijindu boasted that I couldn’t do anything to him, that he was from the same village with the VC. He later ran away. It was a Good Samaritan, Mr. Kingsley Obi, who rescued and rushed me to the hospital where I was treated. After the doctor stitched the wound, I became weak; Mr Obi took me to the hospital and later took me to the police station where I made a report. When the policemen saw the level of the wound, they sympathised with me and assured me that they would arrest the suspect, and charge him to court. It was the following day that I informed my dad of the incident. The caretaker of the hostel where I live assisted police to arrest him while he was trying to leave the school. He was later charged to court.”
Oluebubechkwu added that on January 29, she was in the laboratory, working on the assignment given to her and her course mates when the VC sent the officer in charge of the Anti-Cultism Squad in the school to call her. She went to the VC’s office the following day with her dad, where he asked her to explain what transpired between her and Chinjidu.
She recollected: “He asked me the reason I involved police in the matter. He said that I had a good case. He insisted that I should go and withdraw the case from the police that Chinjidu wouldn’t be going to court. I told him that the case was already in the court, before it was reported to the school authority. The VC told me that as a student, I had no right to invite police to arrest my fellow student, that I should withdraw the case immediately.
“On February 3, 2020, we went back to the court again. The magistrate said he wanted to see Chinjidu, but he didn’t come to court. The magistrate issued a bench warrant, that Chinjidu should be arrested. On that same day, Chinjidu was rearrested. On Friday 4, I got a call from the head of the university Anti-Cultism Squad, saying that I was too stubborn, that the VC instructed me to withdraw the case but I refused. He said that as a result, the school management had decided that I should go to another school. I thought it was just a prank. When we got to the court the third day, I brought the issue to the notice of my lawyer who then called the Dean of Student Affairs, Mr. Ezenekwe Ifeanyi, sent by the VC to monitor the proceeding in the court.”
Oluebubechkwu’s lawyer told her that it was wrong for anyone, let alone the school management to be threatening her with expulsion. The case was later adjourned because the Dean said the school needed to look into the case.
Just when Oluebubechkwu was thinking the issue has been settled, the worst happened.
She said: “On February 13, I was in the exam hall, sitting for the exam, when the head of my department showed up in the exam hall with a letter, saying that I have been expelled from school. He chased me out of the examination hall.
“I must state that the knife stab affected my eyes and right now, I can’t see clearly. I’m now using glasses. I am calling on Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State and members of the general public to come to my aid. I have gone through a lot. I have nobody to fight for me. I need help.”
When our correspondent visited the VC, he explained that Oluebubechkwu was not expelled; only placed on suspension because she made police to arrest a fellow student of the school, Chijindu. Nwakoby said that the police had no right to arrest any student without first informing his office.
Nwakoby dismissed the allegation that Chijindu is his nephew, stressing that both the female student and the male student were on suspension, pending the outcome of the investigation by the university authorities.
Speaking with our correspondent in his office on Igbariam Campus, Nwakoby noted that the school’s security department, after completion of its investigations, would report what led to the fighting between the two students, which resulted in the stabbing of the female student.
He said: “When the incident between the students happened, nobody told me about it on time and this is February. I was in Abuja, for an official assignment when the Dean of Students’ Affairs called me on the phone, to tell me what transpired between the two students and that the matter was already in court. After hearing the matter, I directed the Associate Dean to go to court to find out what was going on, and I also directed the security department of the school to find out what transpired and get back to me.
“After the report, I directed the Deputy Vice Chancellor Administration to Students Affairs Department, that the two students should be placed on suspension. I have neither met either of the students nor seen their parents since the incident occurred and they have also not visited my office.”
Nwakoby, however, stated that he had no nephew in the university but a niece, who is in Pharmacy Department of the university. He added that he and Chijindu were not related in anyway.
He said: “The normal practice in the school is that before the police carry out any arrest, the school authorities and the office of the VC must be informed. They are the ones that would give approval for such an arrest to be made, not that a fellow student will go and arrest her fellow student.
“Even in secondary school, you cannot carry out any arrest without the principal being aware of the matter and arrest. What the police did was to undermine my office as the VC of the university. What we are looking at is conduct and the aspect of criminality and even if the court discharges Chijindu, the university authorities will also look into the matter. If he is found guilty, he will face the law of the institution. Some people are saying that since the matter was in court, the university cannot carry out another investigation. That is not true. We as an institution will discharge our duties accordingly. Again, I want to make it clear that the police have no right whatsoever to come into the university and take away any student without first coming to my office. It is not done anywhere.