…Proprietor alleges “30 involved, 5 expelled, 3 pardoned;”
…“School given 48 hours to withdraw letter.”
by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
A Christian co-education boarding school, popularly known as ‘Joy International College, Kaduna,’ has been dragged to court over expulsion of final-year students of the college.
The school authority is being accused by a parent of “wrongful expulsion” of their son, who is among the five final-year Senior Secondary School (SSS) students of the college, located at Chalawa Crescent, Kaduna South LG of the state.
When the case came up for mention at Magistrate’s Court sitting at Daura Road Monday, in Kaduna State, counsel to the Plaintiff, Barrister CJ Nnaji, told the court that the student (name withheld) did not commit any offense to warrant his expulsion.
Barrister Nnaji prayed the court to declare the expulsion null and void on grounds that the student was not given fair hearing by the school authority.
Barr. Nnaji’s opponent, however, objected to the motion on grounds that series of trial processes of offenders were followed before the expulsion was finally slammed on the five of the thirty students.
Thereafter, a heated debate ensued by both counsels to the parties in dispute, but the Chief Magistrate, Bashir Y. Shittu, advised the counsels, especially the defendant counsel, to seek for out-of-court settlement, describing the expulsion decision on the student as “too harsh and hasty.”
Speaking to newsmen at the end of the session, Barrister Nnaji said, “No offense was committed by this boy. No law in Nigeria that stops students from opening their WhatsApp group. It’s their right to belong to an association.
Even when the judge was trying to give him (defendant counsel), a hint, he was still arguing: “It’s their fundamental right to belong to any association of their choice. So, the issue we are having now is that the counsel to the defendant is the problem. Our prayer to the court is that, the expulsion should be declared null and void, and that the rights of fair hearing were not granted to the boy.”
The Court Judge said, “Since it’s about fair hearing issue, we should approach High Court, which we are going to do very soon. We are giving them two days; if they did not do anything fast, we’ll go back to High Court and challenge it, and see it to the end. But, if they do the needful by rescinding that particular letter and apologize, we will not have any issue with them.
“And, you know, it’s a Christian, acclaimed Christian school, and does not want the child to seat down with his mate in future. How does he want the future of that child to be? We are giving them 48 hours.”
Earlier, in an interview, the college proprietor, Mr. Timothy Gandu, said out of the 30 of the college students involved in offense, five were expelled but three were granted pardon after having apologized with their parents for the offense committed.
He alleged that a final-year student was found in possession of a cell phone – against the school rules – and was ceased, and discovered to have opened WhatsApp group, collecting N2,000 from each student to bribe exam invigilators – also against their rules as a Christian school, among other offenses.
But, father of the affected student, who went to court, Paul Baba, told reporter that the expulsion is capable of damaging the future of his son, who has “not committed any offense” in that regard to his knowledge.
Earlier, a defendant lawyer, who declined comments when contacted, also told the court that he deliberately refused obliging journalists with information documents because the matter involved minors.
The Parents Teachers Association (PTA) leadership also declined comments vehemently when contacted, insisting that until the parent speaks, alleging that media were on damage-driven suspected mission for its sponsors against the school reputation.