Justice Babatunde Quadri of the Federal High Court in Awka has dismissed all charges against six students and a lecturer of Madonna University, Okija, in Anambra State.
The students were arrested for Facebook posts which allegedly portrayed the school ”in a bad light” last year.
Madonna, the first Catholic University in Nigeria, in February, arrested the students and a lecturer over Facebook posts revealing the inhumane treatment of students in the university.
“Good lecturers are scarce. Madonna University administration should be nice to our lecturers, or a good number of them will resign,” one of the Facebook posts read.
Opara Harmelson, Owhonda Badaziri, Abuno Jonathan, Chijioke Nnamani, Amaechi Benedict, Blackson Nwokeoma, and Tony Ezeimo spent five months in prison custody before they were released.
While five of them are former students, Mr Ezeimo is a former lecturer at the University. Mr Harmelson is a friend of Mr Ezeimo who was the only one charged with advance fee fraud.
Several rights groups had demanded that the school management withdraw the case.
At the resumed sitting on Thursday, the prosecuting counsel, Arthur Obi-Okafor, said he had the approval of the Attorney General of the Federation to withdraw the charges.
Mr Okafor said with the withdrawal of the case, a formal application would be made for the release of all items belonging to the students, which were seized during the police investigation.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES on Friday, the lawyer representing the defendants, Chinedu Igwe, said the prosecutor presented some documents from the office of the AGF on the grounds of a peaceful settlement.
“The prosecutor said the fiat was obtained from the Attorney General’s office for peace to reign,” Mr Igwe told our reporter.
The AGF is empowered by the law to enter a nolle prosequi (withdrawal of criminal case) in a criminal matter pending before a court.
Reacting to the order, one of the defendants, Mr Nnamani, expressed his happiness over the judgement of the court.
”It is simply a verdict of transparency and truth, which is commendable,” Mr Nnamani said.
“This is time to build ourselves through the bitter experiences of the past and make out something reasonably outstanding with our lives.”