Judge’s Absence Stalls Trial of Madonna Varsity Seven
The absence of Justice Babatunde Quadri of the Federal High Court 2 in Awka, Anambra state has stalled the hearing of the case involving the arrested and detained seven students of Madonna University, Okija.
The six Madonna students and one of their lecturers were arrested and detained by the state Police Command on the orders of the School management for seven months before they were granted bail in July, 2019.
The allegation against the students, according to the institution, was that they wrote some things against the institution on social media.
On the date they were granted bail, the matter was adjourned to October 7, for further hearing, but yesterday, the trial Judge, failed to show up, as he was said to have traveled outside the state.
However, the dejected lawyers for the parties were told to pick a date of which , December 3, 2019 was agreed as the next adjourned date for continuation of the hearing.
One of the lawyers for some of the Students, Chinedu Igwe, said they were working to make sure the matter came to an end.
On the issue of the management trying to frustrate the suspects by not releasing their degree results and missing out on serving their father land, Igwe, said it was one of the issues they would raise when the Court resumed.
One of the parents of the affected Students, Chief Christopher Onyejekwe, told reporters yesterday at the Court premises that they were being frustrated.
Onyejekwe said there was an agreement to withdraw the case from the Court by the parties in one of their meetings recently in the interest of peace .
According to Onyejekwe: “Sequel to the meeting we had with Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Ralph Madu, the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Madonna University, the Registrar of Madonna University and The Rector of the Saviourite House of Formation ,Fr. Dr. Oliver Udaya, on 24th day of September 2019 at Assumpta Cathedral Owerri, we; the accused persons of a case before the Federal High Court Awka with suit No:FHC/FHC/C/03/2019 decided to give peace a chance”
“We also took into good view the concerns of many Catholic Bishops especially Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor of Awka Diocese and Most Rev. Hilary Okeke of Nnewi Diocese.”
“We realised that giving peace a chance will be in the best interest of the image of the church, the image of Madonna and decided to settle the matter on a round table”
“The conditions for settling the matter out of court was for the university to release the seized results of the affected students and mobilising them for the National Youth Service Corps.”
”We were optimistic that the voice of reason would prevail, but when the resolution of our meeting was presented to the founder of the university, Rev Father Edeh, he asked us to tender individual apologies to the university”
“Why should we tender apologies to him; for detaining our children in prison for seven months and ruining their career. We won’t do that. We’ve decided to carry on with the matter in court, no going back.”
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