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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

NHRC to prosecute Madonna university’s VC for shunning summons

The National Human Rights Commission on Wednesday threatened to prosecute the Vice Chancellor of Madonna University, Prof. Chuks Ezedum, and two other senior officials of the institution, should they fail to appear before it on August 25 over a case of torture of some students of the university on suspicion of being cult members.
NHRC’s Executive Secretary, Prof. Bem Angwe, issued this threat after receiving members of  delegation of  the Nigerian Army, who were at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja to honour an invitation over the inhuman treatment meted out to a civilian in Nyanaya, Abuja, by a soldier.
The commission had, on August 10, invited the university officials and army authorities over the two separate torture incidents.
The university officials were invited over the torture of two students, Stanley Okoye, a 23-year-old final year Civil Engineering student and Ga-Lim Aondofa Lord.
But the university officials did not honour the commission’s invitation.
Angwe said on Wednesday that the Vice Chancellor of Madonna University refused to appear on the excuse that the matter was in court and that the commission should allow the court to handle it.
Though Angwe said the commission had issued fresh invitation for the university officials to appear on August 25, the university authorities were acting in ignorance of the powers of the commission.
He said, “The victims and their parents were here yesterday, but the Vice Chancellor and the two other officials did not come. We also received a letter from the Vice Chancellor of the Mandona University, who said the matter is in court and for that reason, he is of the opinion that the Human Rights Commission should allow the court determine the case.
“We are not satisfied with that. It is not for the Vice Chancellor to sit there in his office and write us a letter that the matter is in court. They (the VC and two other senior officials of the university) need to appear.
“We have given them a new date to appear hear on the 25 of this month. And if by that date the Vice Chancellor and two other officials of the university are not here, we are going to commence their prosecution immediately.
“The Vice Chancellor acted in ignorance by not understanding that he is supposed to appear, and that if he has a defence, or the matter is in court, he should show us certified true copies of the processes in relation to the matter in court. It is for us to determine whether the subject matter is the same with what we want to deal with.”
Meanwhile, Angwe commended the Chief of Army Staff, Maj-Gen. Tukur Baratai, for the steps so far taken in identifying the soldier who maltreated a civilian in Nyanya.
The NHRC boss was however silent on the actual identity of the soldier on the grounds that the case was still being investigated.
He said, “We are satisfied with the way the authorities of the Nigerian Army has handled the case so far.
“As soon as we communicated with the Chief of Army Staff and gave the Nigerian Army 72 hours within which to identify the soldiers involved in this conduct, the COAS, within two hours, communicated to us to say they have indeed found the culprit. 
“That quick response was pleasing to us. Secondly, today, the COAS has sent a team of senior officers led by a General. They also brought the culprit, who is attached to the Guards Brigade.”


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