By Gladys Nweke
A Federal High court sitting in Port Harcourt has ordered the University of Port Harcourt not to suspend or expel undergraduate students who were demoted for none payment of school fees.
The claimants numbering over 6000 who were undergraduates during the 2016/2017 academic session at different levels were affected by the institution’s academic policy which saw their demotions to lower levels.
The claimants filed a lawsuit against the management of the University for breach of their fundamental right for failure to promote them to a higher level after successfully passing their 2nd-semester examination.
Justice Turaki Mohammed, in his ruling, mandated the affect students to pay their fees and continue with their academic section.
Justice Mohammed also ordered that the University of Port Harcourt should not suspend or expel the students from completing their academic years.
Counsel to the University, Diambo Kari, who spoke to Silver News, said it is very clear in the University Act, that the institution has the right to regulate and demand fees from students.
He said that decision of the Senate that no fees no going to the next level, no fees no exam, were all presented before the court, adding that the students will not be penalized or expelled from the school.
On his part, counsel to the undergraduate students, Lezina Amegua, said the judgment is a win-win judgment. The lawyer said the verdict was however not satisfactory because the court did not address all the issues presented by the claimants, adding that the judgment will be looked into.
Counsel Amegua also said that the court should have addressed the issue of the students’ demotion for none payment of school fees instead of addressing only the issue of the student not being suspended, stressing that their position remains what level the students will return to after successfully completing their promotional exams.