A student of the Nigerian Law School, Bwari, Abuja, has been expelled few days to his final examinations. Kayode Bello, 34, was expelled after a fight with another student over seat reservation. Bello throws more light on the issues surrounding his expulsion.
“Part of what I protested against were the welfare of students, but it all started with the issue of chair reservations. What led to my expulsion according to the authorities of the Nigerian Law School were the fact that I challenged the authorities on the facilities, especially having paid over 300,000 naira to the coffers of the Nigerian government via the Treasury Single Account.
“That day, I met Chidima and other persons sitting on some chairs. There was a book on a vacant chair and as I made to sit on it Chidima said she had reserved it for a friend. I said I would leave when the person came.”
“The lady came 20 minutes later with a wrong approach which resulted to an altercation and eventually we took the case to the Head Marshall, Mr. Akinyemi. He asked me to get another seat and I reminded him he was the one who cancelled seat reservations, yet he ignored.”
“I wanted to report the matter to the school’s Chief Security Officer, Mr. Ogunboyan, but he was not on seat. On getting back, he took me to Akinyemi who complained that I was rude.”
“Both officials flared up at that point and Akinyemi threatened me with a query. I immediately submitted a petition on the issue at the secretary’s office but she did not acknowledge it.” Bello said he sent the same petition to the email of the Nigerian Law School without getting a reply.
According to Bello, Akinyemi announced the query in the class the following day and gave him a copy, which he replied to. All the officials suddenly turned the matter against him, accusing him of inciting students against the school management, adding that his room was inspected on March 20, but nothing incriminating was found.
Bello explained that the Students’ Representative Council was also influenced to issue a disclaimer against him.
“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.
“The SRC later withdrew the disclaimer privately, but they had endangered my life and allowed the school management to capitalise on it. I said the SRC chairman should resign as a punitive measure for the disclaimer, while a fresh committee be set up to look into my case. They said it was not possible for the chairman to resign.”
Bello explains that he kept sleeping in the open room until they went for externship (attachment to law firms and courts) on April 24, adding that his application for hostel accommodation during the programme was rejected by the school.
He said, “We returned from externship on July 12. I was in 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.”
Some students, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Bello was expelled because the school authorities saw him as a threat. “Kayode is 100 percent right about his complaints over the poor state of facilities. All the students are aware, but no one has the confidence to challenge the school. It is just unfortunate that Nigeria is a country where you can’t fight an institution and win.”
When asked what actually led to Bello’s expulsion, the Secretary, Max-Uba, said the management would issue a statement on the issue on Monday (today).
Bello’s run-ins with the school management started in November 2016, when he complained to the Secretary to the Council of Legal Education, Mrs. Elizabeth Max-Uba, over the leakage of the sewage pipe in his toilet but it fell on deaf ears.
This event is not Mr Kayode Bello’s first stand against injustice from authority. The University of Ibadan graduate was also involved in a series of protests as an undergraduate. ”My dean, Prof. Oluyemi Bamgbose wrote a negative report against me to the Nigerian law School, one of the reasons was because they said I participated in a protest” he says.