A law student, Kayode Bello, who was recently expelled from the Nigerian Law School, Bwari has said he was unfairly treated in the process that led to his dismissal.
The student who was offered admission in October 2016 was dismissed for reportedly flouting school regulations hinging on indiscipline.
Mr. Bello, however, believes that the school’s action was another chapter in a campaign of victimisation that has been going on over the years aimed at cutting short his academic aspirations.
According to findings by PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Bello’s present ordeal commenced in March, 2017 when he had an argument over seating arrangements with a fellow student in the class.
Mr. Bello said that he had protested that a vacant seat was left reserved for another student and when he had proceeded to take the seat, he was verbally assaulted by the female student who was reserving the seat for a fellow student.
He said rather than wade into the confrontation between the two students, the school authorities used it as a cue to deal with him even though he was the one that reported the matter.
The 34-year-old student was later reportedly bundled out of the school by law school security officials for exhibiting indiscipline.
But that was not all. Later on July 17, after months of controversy, he was eventually handed over to police officers attached to the Bwari Police Station on a day he was expelled by the school for serial acts of indiscipline.
PREMIUM TIMES understands that Mr Bello’s confrontation may have begun even shortly after he gained admission into the school in 2016.
He has reportedly once complained to the management about the leakage of the sewage pipe in his room toilet and other similar complaints that he alleges made him become a target for an exasperated management.
The student also claims he is being victimised for other reasons not clearly stated by the school.
There is the allegation that he was rusticated from his former school, the University of Ibadan, an allegation Mr Bello said is untrue.
In an emailed response sent to PREMIUM TIMES yesterday, he narrates the genesis of his ‘ordeal.’
In the response, Mr Bello accused the then dean of the Faculty of Law in his alma mater (University of Ibadan) as being ‘hell bent’ on seeing that he was rusticated over a grant award issue.
PREMIUM TIMES cannot verify these claims.
Mr. Bello said this hatred by the dean led to his being refused entry into the Nigerian Law School in 2012 as the dean issued a damaging report against him.
He was thus refused admission to the law school until he took up the matter with the Public Complaints Commission, and Council of Legal Education who waded in and he was given an admission including a “benefit of doubt” letter accompanying it.
Mr. Bello said his ordeal did not end even with the admission as he later had confrontations with some law school officials including the Head Marshal and the Chief Security Officer.
He said all this culminated in his being forcefully evicted from his hostel one night by the head of student affairs.
“On March 21, the CSO and the Head of Academic Affairs, Mr. Osamolu, came to my room in the midnight and forcefully evicted me. I paid over N300,000 as school fee, of which N60,000 was for hostel accommodation. They handed me over to policemen at the school’s police post. When I explained what happened to a policeman, he was surprised. He gave me a space to pass the night.
“When I returned to the hostel the following day, I met the door of my room broken, while my bed had been taken away. I reported at the Bwari Police Station, but a policewoman I met there requested money to buy a case file, which I declined to provide.
“My lawyer wrote to the secretary about my victimisation, but she didn’t reply. I also petitioned the Public Complaints Commission, which wrote to the Nigerian Law School.”
Mr. Bello said he tried securing accommodation with the school again but was denied and had to sleep elsewhere until he went for his externship.
“We returned from externship on July 12. I was at the library on July 17 preparing for Portfolio Assessment which started the next day when the CSO led some people to give me a letter of expulsion to sign. I rejected it. They called for reinforcement and I was dragged out of the library and taken to the Bwari Police Station, where I had earlier lodged a complaint against the school without any action.
“They said they would charge me to court; I was happy. I was detained. They later released me after I signed an undertaking that there would be peace.”
Meanwhile, the law school insists the expulsion is in order as the law student had a ‘penchant for incorrigible behaviour.’
In a widely circulated media response, the school said Mr Bello was rusticated from the Faculty of Law, the University of Ibadan in the 2008/2009 Academic Session for disrupting the peace and tranquillity of the university campus.
“The Dean’s confidential report showed that he defied the authorities of the university and continued his programme without serving out the rustication period. It was when his defiance was discovered that he was forced to comply.
“After his studentship was reinstated, he was unrepentant as the report indicated his further involvement in a case of gross misconduct (insubordination), which made the Board of the Faculty of Law recommend him for further disciplinary action.’’
He said he was later admitted to the law school after some in-depth consideration given to him by the appropriate authorities.
“Invariably, he applied for admission in 2016. When he was eventually to be offered admission in October 2016, the Council of Legal Education further directed that he should be issued a letter of warning, to avoid any acts of misconduct and indiscipline while at the Nigerian Law School; and that his admission was on probation, subject to good character.”
However, the school claims he violated the terms of his admission.
“Sometime in March 2017, there was a report of an altercation between him and one of his female colleagues over a preferred seat in the venue of a lecture.
“The report from his colleagues was that a female student left the hall to visit the toilet. In her absence, Mr. Bello left his seat at the rear of the hall and took the seat of the absent student. All entreaties of the Auditorium Marshall, the Chairman of the Students Representative Council (S.R.C.) and other students fell on deaf ears. It was further reported that Mr. Bello nearly went into a scuffle with the female student on her return from the rest room.
“Because of his disorderly behaviour, a query was issued to him by the Head of Students Affairs Department. Rather than addressing the issues, he went into the irrelevant narration, alleging bias by the officials.
“Thereafter, he went on to procure and print on a polo shirt with inciting inscriptions and embarked on a solo protest around the School premises. He followed this with a petition against the “Head, Control Room”, addressed to the Secretary to the Council of Legal Education and Director of Administration, which he circulated to the whole world, including the Secretary-General of the United Nations and Amnesty International.’’
The school said the student’s unruly behaviour left it with no option than to wield the big stick after carrying out the necessary due process involving the relevant aspects of the school’s disciplinary procedure.
“The Council of Legal Education was magnanimous in its decision to approve the admission of Mr. Bello to the Nigerian Law School, despite the adverse report from his University.
“It further noted that: “Mr. Bello lacks the core attributes, disposition and comportment of an aspirant to the Bar.
“It, therefore, recommended his expulsion from the Nigerian Law School. The report of the Committee was considered by the Council of Legal Education at its meeting of July 11, 2017, which approved the recommendations accordingly.
“The decision of the Council of Legal Education was delivered to Mr. Bello, but he refused to accept the letter and further refused to vacate the Students Hostel as he was directed.’’
The school also alleged that the student had a violent streak in him.
“Instead, (of accepting expulsion), he armed himself with an iron rod and threatened to injure whoever went near him. The security personnel left him alone, to avoid a situation in which any of them would be injured by Mr. Bello.
“He was eventually sighted in the Library unarmed, as a result of which the Security Operatives were able to escort him to the Bwari Divisional Police Station. The Police later brought him to the hostel to evacuate his belongings.
“Mr. Bello’s penchant for misbehaviour was also recently brought to the fore via the letter from the Principal Partner (a Senior Advocate of Nigeria), of the Law Firm to which he was attached, during the just concluded externship exercise by all students of the Nigerian Law School.
‘’The Firm was constrained to terminate his stay there even before the period expired because of Mr. Bello’s incorrigible behaviour.’’