One to undergo surgery in Germany, jaws of the other fractured
They are suspected cultists says PRO
FROM ALOYSIUS ATTAH, ONITSHA ( [email protected])
Two students of Madonna University, Akpugo Campus, Enugu State, have told the horrifying story of torture they suffered in the hands of key officials of the tertiary institution.
The duo, Stanley Okoye, 23, a final year Civil Engineering student and Ga-Lim Aondofa Lord, escaped death by the whiskers after they were allegedly abducted from their rooms February 3, 2015, in the dead of the night, in commando fashion, by the Chief Security Officer of the university, Okey Ogbonna and the Dean of Student Affairs, Rev. Fr. Isaac Nginga, a Catholic priest, in company of others and taken to a secluded area on the campus, where they were tortured, brutalized, dehumanised
and left to die, but through divine intervention, they lived to tell the story.
Though they survived the ordeal, they are still undergoing treatment for the almost fatal injuries they received in the hands of their tormentors. For instance, Stanley still needs to undergo special surgery in Germany on the spine to repair a major damage inflicted on him while the torture lasted.
Aondofa suffered a dislocated jaw that required having his jaws held together with special dental wire to allow the injury heal. The duo would for the rest of their lives bear the burden of the deep psychological scars imprinted on their minds by the experience.
Meanwhile, they are still battling to get the results of their degree examinations released. Accompanied by their parents, the victims who visited The Sun office in Onitsha gave a chilling account of what they passed through in the campus, and revealed the alleged moves by the university management to cover up the truth.
In the heartbreaking and graphic account of what happened that fateful night they were abducted, Stanley Okoye recounted that he was woken up from sleep around midnight by one Mr. Kingsley, the school’s Sub- Dean, Mr. Ola, their hall representatives, Mr. Wisdom, Mr. Somtoo and Ogbonna Okey, who is the university chief security officer (CSO), all of whom were accompanied by the Dean of Students Affairs, Rev. Fr. Isaac Nginga. He was then bundled into a Toyota 4runner SUV and taken to a bushy end of the campus where their ordeal began.
Continuing, Stanley said:
“These people were accompanied that night by an armed soldier, who is among our security guards in school. First, they asked for the room number of my friend and classmate, Lord Ga-Lim and I told them. They picked him up from his hostel and forced both of us into the vehicle.
They first drove us to the administrative building and we alighted. Without any question, they descended on us after commanding us to lie down on the gravel. It was Rev. Father Isaac who hit us first with his belt, and the others then joined. They beat us with military belts, planks, batons, iron, stones and other dangerous weapons they could lay their hands on; they dealt mercilessly with us.
All the while they were treading on us as we lay on the sharp, rough gravel. Not even our plea for mercy or cries for help could melt their hearts. Fr. Isaac even commanded the military officer to shoot us if we attempted to run away. In fact, the soldier fired the shot but narrowly missed me. I was coughing out blood and bleeding profusely but Ogbonna, the CSO hit me with his elbow and I fell down again.
In that state, I was forced into the trunk of the Lexus SUV of Fr. Isaac; I memorized the registration number ENU 525 CP. My friend was forced into a Toyota 4Runner SUV driven by Rev. Fr. Mamah. With us in the trunk, they moved with crazy speed and even drove past the university security post without stopping.
The road was very bad. Even though I was almost slipping into unconsciousness, I still heard the shrill voices of security men at the gate and flashing of lights at them telling them to stop. I later realized that the people were policemen on patrol who suspected the manner of the vehicular movement. That night, our tormentors took us to Agbani police station.
A police officer on duty at the station asked them whether we were involved in accident but they didn’t answer. In that state, I told the police that we were attacked by the same people, who brought us to the station and the police told them to take us to a specialist hospital or else we would die but they just took us back to the campus and dumped us in the campus clinic.
I was in pains and we were struggling to hang on to life. They only gave us painkillers and sleep inducing drugs. It was one of the nurses who saw our condition that night that I whispered my mother’s number into her ears and she used her phone, after hiding the number, to notify my parents about our plight.
While we were in the hospital, they confiscated our phones, laptops and all our friends and roommates’ phones and communication gadgets to ensure that information about us did not leak to the outside community. We were dying in installments.
On February 5, I was woken up by the CSO, who told me that my father was at the gate and wanted to see me. My dad was shocked when he saw my condition. When he tried to take a picture of me, they seized his camera and smashed it on the ground. After heated argument between my dad and the people at the gate, they immediately bundled my friend and myself to the Elele campus of the university in Rivers State, in the dead of the night without the knowledge of my father.
We were in the hospital at Elele for about seven weeks shut out from the people and still under police watch even on our hospital bed. We underwent several surgeries because the doctor confirmed that my zygomatic bone close to the spine was fractured. My friend had fractures on the lower and upper jaws.
I fainted when I saw my son – Okoye
Narrating how he heard about his son’s ordeal and the frustrations he encountered in the course of seeking justice for the victimized students, Chief Okoye told Sunday Sun that he was in Lagos when his wife called him from their Abuja home.
“My wife informed me that she received a distress call. Only God can describe the trauma we passed through that night before daybreak. I left Lagos for Enugu with first flight, abandoning all I came to do in Lagos, but I never knew that I was in for the greatest shock of my life.
On getting to the school gate, I was denied entry by the security people and left stranded for four hours. When I noticed that the matter was no more a small issue not to talk of the uncertainty surrounding my son’s life, knowing that his phone was already permanently switched off, I sought for external help through the military. It was the high command at the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu that assisted me before they could allow me to enter and stay by the side of the gate while they went to fetch my son. When they brought him, I fainted, upon seeing his condition.
After regaining composure a bit, I asked him who did that to him and he pointed out the CSO, the Rev Father and some others. I wanted to take his picture in that state for practical evidence but to my surprise, another Catholic priest named Fr. Francis, who came in from Elele, Rivers State with two police escorts ordered the security men to smash my camera which is worth N300,000 to pieces, and they did.
They also threatened to shoot me if I didn’t tread with caution. After all arguments, we agreed that the children should be taken to either Enugu State University Teaching Hospital (ESUTH) or University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Ituku Ozalla, Enugu State, but to my surprise again, as soon as I left, they bundled the children in that state to their headquarters at Elele, Rivers State.
The children were kept incommunicado and detained in the hospital too. It was through military assistance that I was able to gain access to see them in the hospital but they refused to release them to us for proper medical care.”
Federal High Court to the rescue
Unable to endure the continued detention of the students at the Elele campus of the university and the uncertainty and anxiety surrounding their health status, Okoye through his lawyer, G. E. Ezeuko, SAN approached the Federal High Court, Enugu, for the enforcement of the fundamental human rights of the students.
He also slammed a civil suit against the Governing Council of Madonna University and eight other respondents, demanding N1billion compensation for special and general damages and for gross violation of fundamental human rights guaranteed under the Constitution of Nigeria and African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
In the Suit No FHC/ EN/M/58/2015, the applicants, Ifeanyi Stanley Okoye, Lord Aondofa Ga-Lim and Samuel Okoye prayed the court for a declaration that:
“The acts of the respondents on the 3rd and 5th of February, 2015 which resulted in serious bodily injury, torture, intimidation and detention of the applicants amounts to infraction of their fundamental right guaranteed under sections 33, 34, 35 and 36 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 and under the Africa Charter on Human and Peoples Right.
Through the granted reliefs sought by the applicants, the management of Madonna University later released the wounded students from the hospital though there are other pending matters in the suit. The case was adjourned till October 29, 2015.
Catholic priest, CSO remanded in prison custody, granted mysterious bail
On their release from the hospital in Elele, Stanley and Aondofa sought private treatment in other different hospitals. Stanley was admitted at Olabisi Onabanjo Teaching Hospital, Ogun State while Aondofa also went for corrective surgeries on his broken jaw. It was at the teaching hospital that the doctor revealed that Stanley would still require a corrective surgery abroad for his cervical region to avoid total and irreversible damage to the spinal cord as a result of the injuries sustained from the torture.
Incensed that the university management showed no concern or even bothered to reach out to the aggrieved families of the brutalized students, who are solely bearing the spiraling cost of the victims’ medical bills, while the perpetrators of the acts have been walking about scot-free, Okoye petitioned the Commissioner of Police seeking for criminal prosecution of the alleged culprits.
The petition signed by Barrister A.C Arinze of the chambers of G. E Ezeuko (SAN) and addressed to the Enugu State Commissioner of Police, copy of which was obtained by the Sunday Sun, was entitled:
“Petition Against Torture, Maltreatment, Dehumanization, Unlawful Detention and Battering meted against Ifeanyi Stanley Okoye and Lord Aondofa Galim by staff and officials of Madonna University, Akpugo Campus, Enugu State.”
Acting on the contents of the petition, and particularly moved by the pictures of the tortured state of the victims, the Commissioner of Police, after interviewing both parties and expressing serious dismay over the inhuman treatment of the students, ordered the detention of the duo of Fr. Nginga and Ogbonna Okey while others connected to the alleged crime were declared wanted.
Then on Tuesday, July 14, 2015, Nginga and Ogbonna were arraigned in an Enugu Magistrate court presided over by Nkemdilim Anibueze on a two-count charge of conspiracy and felony.
When the court registrar read the first charge against the defendants, an argument ensued between the police prosecutor, Anichima Boniface and the defence counsel from the chambers of Tony Muogbo, SAN, who argued that the first count charge preferred against the defendants was incompetent, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction to try the case.
After arguments, the magistrate ordered that the defendants be remanded in prison till the next adjourned date (July 21, 2015) for her to rule on whether the first count charge should subsist and on the issue of jurisdiction.
When the case was called on the resumed hearing, which was witnessed by Sunday Sun reporter and other journalists, a mild drama played out when the magistrate expressly granted all the prayers of the defence counsel and disallowed any objection from the police prosecutor or the counsel to the victimised students.
The magistrate, after ruling that the court did what it was supposed to do by remanding the suspects in prison custody when issues of competency of the court, charges or jurisdiction arose, later gave room for the counsel to argue their points.
The defence counsel, Tony Muogbo, SAN represented by Mrs V.C. Okoye told the court that the defendants had applied for and were granted bail by Agbani High Court, presided over by Justice Anidi, stressing that they had met the bail conditions. She explained that Friday and Monday, being November 17 and 20 respectively, were public holidays, therefore the defendants could not pay the necessary fees to obtain the certified true copies of the bail application.
The police prosecutor, Anichima, while addressing the court said that the argument by the defence counsel was a novelty to him because he had never heard that a defendant standing trial in a magistrate court could go to another court to seek and obtain bail when the magistrate hearing the case had not dispensed with it. The presiding magistrate in her ruling admitted the files as Exhibits A, A2, A3, A4 and E, which were enclosed in a big envelope. She stated that the case had been bonded over with the sum of N200,000 while the matter was adjourned sine-die pending when the Attorney General of Enugu State through the Director of Public Prosecution would give his opinion.
Before the magistrate could finish her remarks, the cleric and the CSO jumped out of the dock and in a jiffy, rushed to the door, followed immediately by other priests from Madonna University, who came to court in solidarity. Before the two lawyers could step out of the court, the defendants had already boarded a vehicle waiting within the premises and the driver zoomed off.
In a chat with Sunday Sun within the court premises, counsel to the brutalized students, Fidelis Mbadugha expressed dismay over what transpired in the court, saying that there were indications that something transpired in secret before the court sitting. He said the proper thing the magistrate ought to have done was to first of all decline jurisdiction. He said the high court had no jurisdiction to grant bail when the matter was still pending in a magistrate court.
“It is after a magistrate court must have concluded and transmitted the case file to the DPP, and the DPP had prepared his opinion that the defendants could then apply for bail at the high court. The high court would then see the proceedings and records at the lower court before granting the bail. This kind of procedure has not happened in our justice system and we will study the situation and know the next step to take.”
They wanted to eliminate my son –Mrs Lim
Mother of Ga-Lim Aondofa Lord, Mrs. Yemi Lim, who spoke to Sunday Sun from Benue State, where she lives, expressed sadness and dismay over the whole situation, alleging that the university authorities were eager to cover the truth.
“I’m not happy over the whole situation. My son was tortured, assaulted, locked up and would have died in that school but till today, nobody from the institution has communicated to us what actually happened. They performed surgery on my son without my signing any consent form. I was at the Elele hospital from February 17 to March 26, at my own expense but all I see is conspiracy of silence. I asked Fr. Mike at Elele to tell me the offence my son committed but he said nothing. It is very disappointing and I say that this barbaric action must stop in that school. In 2013, two students were (allegedly) set ablaze at the Okija campus of the university. That matter was also swept under the carpet. I want justice to be done,” she said.
Another student brutalized for making noise
In the course of investigating this case, Sunday Sun also encountered another student at the Akpugo campus of the university, who was allegedly brutalized for making noise during a church service in the campus. Sunday Sun learnt that the incident also involved the CSO and the cleric in charge of student affairs. He said they used military belt to beat him, and inflicted serious injuries on him. The scars of the injuries were still visible on his face since November 2014 when the incident happened.
Stanley and Aondofa when asked by the reporter if they knew why they became targets of their torturers, they said that it was their courage to speak out against the ill-treatment of students in the institution that made them targets of threats and physical attack.
“In our school, student leaders appointed by the management take delight in maltreating other students. We are treated as second-class citizens in the university. They don’t allow us to use camera phones while our parents are barred from seeing our hostels.
During accreditation by the National Universities Commission, the school management often hires qualified lecturers and professors for presentation but they leave soon after the accreditation process. In some of the cases of students maltreating their fellow students, we have risen in some instances to condemn such acts. This was what made us objects of attack by the dean and CSO. Before we were physically attacked, the dean, Father Isaac had often threatened us, saying that we would not graduate from the university,” one of the duo said.
Two other students from the university who spoke on strict anonymity corroborated Stanley and Ga-Lim’s positions, saying that they live in fear of the threat of expulsion everyday on the campus.
The brutalized students are suspected cultists –PRO
When the reporter spoke to Rev. Father Isaac Nginga on phone, he said that he had no comment to make on the matter. When reminded that his submission of no comment was an indication of being guilty as charged, he still maintained that he wouldn’t say anything.
But when contacted the Public Relations Officer of the university, Emeka Okpara, told Sunday Sun that Okoye and Ga-Lim were suspected cultists, who had been disturbing the peace of the university. Though he acknowledged that the injuries inflicted on the students were too much, he said it was as a result of the antecedents of the students in the university. He also punctured the claims by the students that the university lacked qualified lecturers.
“The two students are suspected cultists who have been rebelling against the university. They had previously attacked the chief security officer off campus one day he rode in a public transport. Those students jumped over the school gate and entered into the town, breaking university rules.
The allegation that the school hires lecturers during NUC accreditation is unfounded. Anybody who knows the calibre of the Chancellor/owner of Madonna University, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Ede knows that he doesn’t compromise on quality standards. The university boasts of sound academics that can stand tall anywhere in the world.
The initial plan of Fr. Ede was to build a worldclass aeronautical engineering faculty at the Akpugo campus but some powers scuttled the approval. The problem is that those children born with silver spoon don’t want to suffer while they know the rules and regulations guiding the university before they enrolled and accepted to abide by the rules.”
But a human rights activist, James Okoro of the Center for the Advancement of Human Rights and Peace Advocacy advised the management of Madonna University to toe the path of honor by accepting their wrongs and making efforts to remedy the ugly situation by placating the victims and desisting from inhuman and degrading treatments of their students.
Okoro told Sunday Sun that it was unlawful for anybody, no matter how highly placed, to take the law into his hands and inflict harm on another person whether in revenge or as punishment for offence committed. He said part of the terms of peaceful settlement to the affected students would be the immediate release of their results by the university and payment of adequate compensation. Failing this, he threatened that his organization in conjunction with other groups would drag the management to court.
In the interim, and particularly regarding the controversial circumstances that led to the temporary discharge of the accused persons by the magistrate court, Chief Samuel Okoye has made a vow that the struggle to ensure that the victims get justice will continue. He threatened to petition the National Judicial Council, the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC), National Human Rights Commission and other relevant bodies both in Nigeria and abroad over the matter. Okoye also punctured the claims by the university PRO that the students were cultists, saying that such labeling was also an indirect indictment on the university management.
“They can thwart the course of justice but it will only be for a while. How can a university where you have armed soldiers, policemen as well as other private guards, claim that my son is a cultist.
Also, does the law allow anybody to become the arresting authority, prosecutor, and dispenser of justice at the same time in a jungle manner? They wanted to use my son for rituals but God said no. There are still so many unanswered questions about what happened to my son and his friend. The Rev. Father still needs to tell the whole world where they were taking my son and his friend in the dead of the night in the trunk of the vehicles after torturing them half dead, beating the university security and the police.
If God did not expose this crime, we would have heard a different story about what happened to the students. Since this matter started, they have been busy trying to cover up by destroying evidence and reaching out to some people so that the matter would be swept under the carpet. That was why they destroyed my camera and also refused to release the medical records of the tortured students but I know that there is God in heaven who oversees the affairs of men,” Okoye said.
MADONNA VARSITY TORTURE: More victims speak
August 23, 2015
■ The Sun reporter gets threat from varsity official
FROM ALOYSIUS ATTAH, ONITSHA ([email protected] yahoo.com)
The last has not been heard on the alleged torture of two students of Madonna University, Akpugo Campus, Enugu State, Nigeria by officials of the institution as more revelations have come to light in the wake of the story published by Sunday Sun on August 9, 2015, even as it has continued to generate ripples across the country and beyond.
Apart from drawing the attention of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Abuja, which addressed a press conference on the issue and summoned the Madonna University authorities to appear before it on August 17, 2015, there is growing outrage against the institution over the story.
Already, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has threatened to mobilize its members across the country for the mother of all protests which would eventually lead to the shutting down of the university unless the authorities redress the wrongs done to Stanley Okoye and Lord Aondofa Ga-lim and as well as review some of its administrative actions that undermine the welfare of its students.
National President of NANS, Mr. Tijani Usman, who spoke to Sunday Sun, said due process would be followed in all their actions while ensuring that justice is done in the matter. He said NANS Executive Council has met with the President of Madonna University Alumni Association, who has given a commitment that the issues would be sorted out amicably.
“He told us that we should take it easy because of the image of the university but we also made it clear to him that we can shut down the school. We stated that the victimized students should be allowed to graduate with their certificates, that they should be given adequate protection while in campus; moreover, they should be paid adequate compensation. The university must stop any other form of molestation or maltreatment in the institution,” he said.
Also speaking to Sunday Sun, a concerned alumnus, Chuma Achu said though the alumni association was pained over the situation, it has been in touch with the university authorities to find a way of handling the situation and starting on a clean slate.
He noted that the Vice Chancellor of the university confirmed that despite what happened, Stanley and Aondofa are still bona fide students of the university.
Meanwhile, torrents of reactions have been trailing the torture story with some respondents giving more chilling accounts of what they passed through in Madonna University in the past.
While some of the people who contacted the reporter are still students of the university, quite a number have graduated. The current undergraduates among them and even some of the graduates pleaded anonymity for fear of expulsion or being denied their transcripts when they apply for the vital document.
One of the respondents who wrote to Sunday Sun with his full identity but has been deliberately given an assumed name, ‘Bosco’ had this to say (please note, dear reader that some of the unprintable things he said, have been withheld by us): “I write today on behalf of the present Madonnites whose voice can’t be heard and those who are afraid to speak because of the fear of explusion. One thing for sure is that I knew and also know most of the victims of such horrible atrocities. This isn’t the first time such thing is happening in Madonna University and to be sincere with you, it won’t be the last. To be honest with you, my orientation changed after six years in that institution.
“Priests and Reverend Sisters in the school are involved in espionage activities, all trying to blackmail their colleagues for higher positions. The moment you enter the institution as a student, the atmosphere is choking, far different from the previous one you just felt outside the school gate. Well, I guess that’s a psychological problem and a topic for another day. My first three years were spent at Elele campus and believe me, that was one hell of a ride. Then came this Akpugo (the promise land), then I was in my third year (300 Level) that was when it all began.
“Everything changed from bad to worse. We were being forced against our own will to go to morning mass every blessed day. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s a bad idea to pray or give thanks to your Creator every day. It’s the manner at which they drive you out of your bed in the morning. At exactly 5:30am you will start hearing all manner of voices shouting and bangs at various doors. If you struggle out of your bed and get to the tap to wash your face and brush your teeth and its 5:45am, your phone will be seized and you will be forced to serve various punishments like cutting grass, sweeping the entire floor of a hostel or even wash the clothes of the hall representatives. Mind you the hall rep is your fellow student appointed by the authorities like SUG in public schools. I don’t remember seeing any of this at black gold orientation camp, Kaduna and I don’t think such happens in Nigeria Defense Academy. So I guess it’s just the gun that is missing.
“To the recent horrific thing that happened, Chief Okoye is surprised that a priest ordered that his camera be destroyed. If you ask me, I will say he was very lucky that he was not detained also. Things like this are trends in the institution – I am talking about a scenario, where the mother of a student was locked up by security people in Elele. They said she was behaving like a mad woman just because she shouted at the security man at the gate. Her husband had to come from God knows where to rescue his wife and they withdrew their daughter. You had a situation of a reverend sister (allegedly) running away with millions of naira and threatening the founder that if he comes after her, she will expose him and nothing has been heard of that case since.
“What about the fire that killed two students in Okija and the university said it was fuel, when we know student don’t have access to fuel but only the staffers for their vehicles? I guess the case has been swept under the rug and so on. Lecturers have natural hatred for students, deliberately failing students in the name of making money for the school by giving them extra year. Every year only 14 per cent of Madonna students graduate; the rest are spill-over cases.
“Coming back to the victims, Stanley Okoye and Ga-Lim Aondofa Lord, well no matter the offence they might have committed, they are not guilty as treated. This was jungle justice and I’m sure if petrol and tyre were available that night, given the anger in the minds of those performing the atrocity, it would have been “AKPUGO 2 like ALUU 4.” Assuming these boys gave up, what would the university authority have done? Oh I know, probably the officials will dump them by the road side or maybe bury them secretly.
“I’m wondering the way these kids looked after they were tortured that made the authorities to carry out an emergency surgery on them without the approval of their parents and even after eight weeks or more, they still look this way with all the bruises still evidently present. Even confirmed criminals are not beaten this way. I don’t see in the handbook where it says if a student is a suspected cultist, he or she should be beaten profusely. Let me state exactly what the handbook of Madonna University says in “Section 11:
No involvement in cultism or association with cultists.
No possession of cultist materials such as ring charms, amulets, wears or symbols;
iii. No possession of cultist weapons like guns, pistols, axes, cutlasses, daggers, etc.
No intimidation, threat or fine of anybody with cultists’ powers or boasts. For girls no silent consent to the diabolic “protection” of cultists because of fear. Report all cult-related threats, fines or purported protection to the authorities. Punishment for cultism and all cult-related offences is expulsion of all members and accomplices including the so called protected.
“These are normal platitudes you see in any university handbook and the same euphoria about such offences in any institution. I will advise the parents of these victims to turn to God and save themselves the expenses because like other cases, this one will also be swept under the rug. It’s like the story of a father and son but this time it’s an institution versus students.
“I would like to state categorically that I have nothing personal against Madonna University or the chancellor. I admire his patriotism and philanthropy, but I fault his method on the appointment of staff, his chain of command and above all, the treatment of students.”
Justus Ijeoma, Legal Secretary, Civil Liberties Organisation, Anambra State branch also told Sunday Sun how a young man who allegedly wrote a negative story on the internet against the Chancellor of the university was thrown into the dungeon at Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), Awkuzu, Anambra State for several months.
Also, an Onitsha based legal practitioner, Barth Okafor-Onyilo in an encounter with Sunday Sun reporter also recounted his unpleasant brush with the authorities of Madonna University, when he was a Law student of the university. He said he was detained in the university cell for three days and in the aftermath, sued the university two years after his graduation.
“I was in my final year, Law department, 2007; the high handedness of the school authorities was something else then. I was labeled a trouble maker and detained in the school cell for three days. This happened three months to my graduation and I had to endure all the humiliation so that the years I spent in school would not be in vain. While I was also fighting for my rights, they constituted one panel like that and handed me the verdict that I should pay N50, 000 as fine for fighting. I paid the money but they refused to send my name to the Nigerian Law School. It was after consistent struggles that I eventually proceeded to the Law School. Upon graduating and finishing my National Youth Service Corps year in 2009, I sued the university at Ihiala High Court for all they did to me. It was a celebrated case but the judge eventually tilted the case in their favour saying that I brought the court after two to three years.
“I wanted to appeal the case but on a second thought, I decided to move on since I had proved a point. Not quite long after, the National Universities Commission wielded the big stick by withdrawing their law degree accreditation. I’m also aware during our own time in the university that they hired lecturers and borrowed facilities during NUC accreditation visit. During such period, they would normally send us home so that we won’t interfere or leak any secret,” he said.
Sunday Sun reporter gets death threat
On Tuesday, August 18, 2015 at exactly 8.33am, the reporter called the Public Relations Officer of Madonna University, Mr. Emeka Okpara on phone to intimate him on the request from the editor to do a follow up on the story based on reactions that trailed the first publication and to know whether the university had articulated a response to all the trending issues trailing the torture story. After introductions, he flared up and accused the reporter of witch-hunting. Not done yet, he threatened the reporter to tread softly to avoid incurring the wrath of the Chancellor of Madonna University, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Edeh. While the reporter was trying to let him realize that he meant no harm and the implications of what he was saying, he threatened to come after the reporter if he dared to quote him in any way again in the story. When the line went off after five minutes and seven seconds, he called back at 8.26am and spent 40 minutes, 23 seconds threatening fire and brimstone and telling the reporter to run for his life for stepping on a dangerous landmine. He said he didn’t care if his voice was being recorded as the reporter had done before.
He said that they just finished a meeting where what would be the reporter’s fate for writing the story was discussed and warned of dire consequences the reporter might get for writing ‘negative’ stories on Madonna University.
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prince emmy <[email protected]>
9:06 PM (12 hours ago)
Madonna University Torture Story latest
University management lifts embargo on use of camera phones
NANS writes management, set for a show down
Alumni group sets up helpline for other tortured students
FROM ALOYSIUS ATTAH, ONITSHA
October 29, 2015
Since the story on the alleged torture and dehumanizing treatment meted on Stanley Okoye and Ga-lim Aondofa , two students of Madonna University, Akpugo campus broke out, neither the institution officials nor the affected students have rested.
While the university management is making frantic efforts to salvage the image of the university, various stakeholders are also trying to ensure that justice is done an all fronts about the matter.
Though not much has been heard since the invitation extended to the management of the university by the National Human Rights Commission, Abuja, to appear before it over the alleged human rights violations, Sunday Sun can authoritatively report that the Management of Madonna University has been trying to review some of its style of administration hitherto seen by many as draconian and high handed.
For instance, the use of camera phones in the university which was earlier termed a serious offence has been unbanned in the campus. An official statement to that effect which was communicated to the students after a general address by the management was also posted in the official website of the university and the personal domain of the General Coordinator of the school, Rev. Fr. Francis Nwachukwu.
The cleric also posted the new directive in his Facebook account where he wrote: “Fr. Francis Nwachukwu Chinwendu, from the university administration, the use of camera phone is now allowed, tell others. Love you all my students”
But while the university management is making efforts to reform its administrative methods, some individuals and groups who spoke to Sunday Sun said that the only way the management can show commitment to the reforms is to redress the alleged injustice meted on the duo of Stanley Okoye and Ga-lim Lord Aondofa.
To this effect, some concerned alumni members of the university have formed a pressure group and also opened a help line where other victims of any form of human rights violation in the university can make a formal report for attention.
Coordinator of the Madonna University Alumni Pressure Group, Nuel Odoemena in a press statement made available to Sunday Sun titled “RE: Alleged Human Rights Violation in Madonna University” , said that they intend to do a follow up petition to National Universities Commission (NUC), National Human Rights Commission(NHRC) and National Assembly . While thanking The Sun Newspaper for bringing the issue into public domain, he noted that the content of their petition to those bodies is for them to look into the activities of school and thereby generate a concrete reform of its modus operandi.
Part of their statement reads: “We sympathize with the concerned students and their families and also commend them for the manner in which they have comported themselves so far. We call on the management of Madonna University to act swiftly to ensure a peaceful resolution of this precarious situation. On our side, a dedicated channel, [email protected] has been set up to receive inputs from all current and past students of this great institution.
“While we are committed to ensuring better conditions for our undergraduates, we use this opportunity to categorically state that this event should not be allowed to repeat itself in our institution. The high handedness and the excessive use of power by security officials in the school premises against students should be curtailed, and decency and decorum are applied in all dealings with students. We wish Stanley Okoye and Lord Ga-lim speedy recovery and we are certain the law will take its course and justice will be served” the statement noted.
NANS set for a showdown
Following the shunning of the reconciliatory meeting proposed by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) by the management of Madonna University, the national student’s body says it is set for the mother –of – all- show-down with the institution.
NANS had in a letter signed by its National President, Comrade Tijani Usman Shehu dated August 24, 2015 and addressed to the Vice Chancellor of Madonna University, Prof. Chuks Ezedum protested what they called the “Abduction, maltreatment and dehumanization of two students of the university” and requested for a consultative mission to see how best the issue raised can be addressed.
But when our reporter spoke with the National President of NANS last Wednesday, he said that the university management shunned their invitation and never wrote them a formal acknowledgment letter. He noted that based on the foregoing circumstance, the student body has no other choice than to embark on total showdown with the institution since they have underrated their powers.
He said that NANS remains committed to the welfare of students nationwide and will not relent in the case of the two students to serve as a warning to other institutions who may be taking the students for ride.
Former student union leader narrates experience, makes case for meaningful reforms
A legal practitioner based in Abuja, Peter Nnamdi Nweke has called for a holistic approach in handling the alleged abuses meted on students in Madonna University. Nweke who was former President, Students Union Government (SUG) of Anambra State University, Uli campus narrated to Sunday Sun his unpleasant encounter with the security officials of Madonna University in 2003.
“It was few months after my election as the SUG President as you might know that Uli , the location of our university and Okija campus of Madonna are in Ihiala local government area of Anambra State. I got the news that my father died and I traveled home. On my way back, I stopped over at Madonna University to inform my friend of the news as well as the burial arrangements. As usual, you will go to their gate and give the name of the person you want to see and they will announce it on the public address system. On arriving at the gate, we parked my official vehicle, L300 Mitsubishi bus which had the inscription “Office of the President, SUG ANSU “at the designated car park for visitors. My friend was called and we met around 12pm.
“I got to where my bus was parked and met over 20 Madonna students who were admiring the bus probably because such student union was banned in the school. I was with my driver and Personal Assistant when suddenly, a Mercedes Benz Wagon carrying five mobile policemen blocked us and requested that we accompany them to meet with their Deputy Vice Chancellor and I agreed.
“On getting there, they alleged that we were cultists that have come to initiate their students and started beating us. I resisted and showed them my identity card and requested that I see the DVC. The fact that the DVC knew me as an altar boy did not in any way assuage them. They took us to police station at Ihiala and on reaching there, the DPO told them that he was at my inauguration but they refused to listen and called their Chancellor. The Chancellor told them to take us to police headquarters in Awka. At the command headquarters, some policemen told us that some students have been in their custody ranging from two to three months at the order of the university authority.
“I immediately reached out to my Vice Chancellor and my fellow executive members in the union. My VC called the Commissioner of Police, while my excos and NANS mobilized hundreds of students to the CP’s office and in a jiffy, over 500 students were protesting at the CP’s office. When the CP realized the truth of the matter, he apologized profusely and asked us not to fight back. It was the final intervention by my VC that quelled what would have resulted to war between two universities in Anambra State. Now that what they do in the university has been blown open, it’s time for a change of strategy” he said.