Lecturer Who Criticizes Kaduna Governor Files Lawsuit Over Termination
John Danfulani, a lecturer at Kaduna State University who faces termination over his sharp criticism of Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero of Kaduna State, has filed a lawsuit against the institution’s governing council.
In a letter dated June 20, 2014, the council had accused Mr. Danfulani, who holds a PhD, of using social media to denigrate Governor Yero who is the university’s visitor. In the letter, the council informed the lecturer that it could not tolerate his criticism of Mr. Yero, describing the act as a breach of the university’s condition of service and section 20: 4 of the institution’s law.
In a counter move, Mr. Danfulani filed a lawsuit against the university at the National Judicial Court. His lawsuit seeks a perpetual injunction restraining the university council from taking any measure against him. The lawsuit further disclosed that the lecturer needed the court’s injunction as a relief against his likely termination of appointment and other forms of intimidation and harassment by the university.
According to Mr. Danfulani, the lawsuit was in the interest of justice and to ensure that his fundamental human rights and freedom of expression as provided in Sections 36 and 38 of the 1999 constitution are guaranteed. He also wants the court to determine whether he violated the university’s condition of service merely by expressing his views as an academic, researcher and law-abiding citizen of Kaduna State and Nigeria.
In an email response to questions sent by SaharaReporters, Mr. Danfulani explained why he opted to go to court after he was served a letter by the university.
“On 20th June 2014, I was served with a warning letter from my employer, the Kaduna State University (KASU), for allegedly denigrating the Visitor of the University Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero in the social media.
“Claims contained therein were not only baseless but hyperactively confusing to even the most undiscerning mind. It is clear that, in the process of pleasing the god of Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, KASU management threw caution to the dogs—thus committing silly technical and procedural balderdash.
“Because at the time of the delivery of the letter I was officially on three months break, I allowed sleeping dogs to lie. And I simply submitted their warning letter, my condition of service manual and KASU-establishing laws to my lawyers to study and advice on appropriate action.
“After weighing my employers’ claims vis-à-vis existing laws establishing KASU and our 1999 constitution, my lawyers advised it would be in the interest of justice to enter into judgment with KASU. We have filed papers with industrial court seeking clarification on a number of issues contained in their warning letter.
“We shall officially tell the world that we are in court with KASU. My lawyers have made the draft for public consumption to avoid running afoul of existing laws associated to comments on cases in court.
“Everything in life has a price, and no struggle is devoid of hurdles and challenges. We are fighting the system; we should expect the system to fight back. Such is the dialectic of nature and law of survival. Let’s keep moving until we pull down the last pillar of oppressors standing in Kaduna State for the betterment of all peoples of the state irrespective of religions, ethnicity and any political inclinations.”