Visually Impaired Student Sues UNILAG For Assault, Removal From Office
00-level visually impaired student of the department of Political Science at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Umezinwa Lawrence Success, has filed a lawsuit against the university and six other defendants over his removal as chairman of Mariere Hall and alleged assault on him by the institution’s security personnel on the order of Dean of Student Affairs, Professor Tunde Babawale.
The lawsuit by Mr. Success names UNILAG, its Governing Council, Vice Chancellor Rahman Bello, Registrar, Ms. Taiwo Ipaye, who is also secretary to Council, Dean of Students Affairs, Mr. Babawale, a deputy dean, Karo Ogbinaka, and UNILAG’s Chief Security Officer, S. P. Adamu Shehu, as defendants.
His suit, before the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, is seeking enforcement of his fundamental rights to fair hearing and dignity of the human person.
Mr. Success, who was on October 3, 2015 elected the executive chairman of UNILAG’s Mariere Hall, sued the university over his illegal removal as an elected Hall chairman. In action, his suit seeks redress for an unlawful act meted out on him by security officials on the orders of the university’s dean of students affairs.
“I received two letters on the 9th of June 2016 titled ‘Removal From Office’ and ‘Relocation to Jaja Hall’ from the office of the Student Affairs signed by Deputy Dean 1, Dr. Karo Ogbinaka. I know the Office of the Students Affairs Division [has] so much power, but such powers do not include powers to remove an elected student leader from an elective office of the student’s body in a manner which it was done without any complaint whatsoever from my student-electorate and without giving me a hearing at all on whatever allegation, if any, against me,” said Mr. Success.
SaharaReporters had earlier reported that one of the university’s security men poked a finger into the student’s blind eye as other security personnel choked him, removed his wristwatch, and tore his shirt. The security men not only manhandled the visually impaired student, but also snatched away his phone, which they did not return.
After the assault, Mr. Success was pushed into his room and ordered to move out his possessions. Since the security personnel did not know what belonged to him or his roommate, they denied him access to his room in Mariere Hall.
In the lawsuit, Mr. Success wants the court to declare that the decision on his removal made by Dr. Karo Ogbinaka was illegal and unconstitutional and the act of humiliation and degradation inflicted on him by the security men was a violation of his fundamental right to dignity of human person according to section 34(1) and 36 (1) of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria.
He seeks a court order setting aside, nullifying and voiding his removal as the chairman of student’s executive council at Mariere Hall, and his reinstatement to his position with all the rights and privileges attached to the position, including issuance of certificate of meritorious service at the completion of his tenure.
Mr. Success is urging the court to grant his application in the interest of justice as it was his blindness that made the school authority and security men strip him of his honor as chairman of Mariere Hall.
“I say that this treatment would not have been this mean if the elected chairman was not a blind student and this action by the school authority will further throw all physically challenged students back to their shell as unfit and insecure for any participatory role in the university community,” he concluded.