The President of The Students’ Union Government, University of Benin, Hon. Obakpolo Lauretta and The Secretary General, Hon. Jatto John Ovie have been suspended from office at the 3rd plenary session of The Supreme Parliament held on December 3rd, 2016 at LT3, Faculty of Law of the school.
According to the news men who was present at the venue of the sitting, The President was suspended following several allegations levied against her, after which a vote of ‘no confidence’ was passed.
Some of the allegations include:
- That Madam President tore a letter that concerns the interest of UNIBEN students’ issued to her by the Supreme Parliament.
- That Madam President has been avoiding the question on how she got the new bus in her possession.
- That Madam President converted a bus which ought to be for the union into her personal property. Evidence shows that the bus has as inscription: “Office of The President…” instead of The Students’ Union Government.
- That Madam President has no respect for the Parliament over her refusal to show up for any of the sitting so far.
- ‘Alleged’ contempt of the parliament by Madam President.
- ‘Perceived’ abuse of office/power by Madam President.
- That Madam President chose to travel for a wedding ceremony (which was not in the interest of the students’) over the third (3rd) plenary session.
Reacting to these allegations, on the issue of the inscription on the bus, The Attorney General of the union, Hon. Aigbogun John Chukwuyem said that it was just for the purpose of getting the papers of the ‘said’ bus out of government house and nothing malicious or fraudulent. Speaking further on the absence of the President from the sitting, The Attorney General stated that The President was present at the first plenary sitting.
“However, on the day of the second plenary sitting, the shuttle drivers went on strike calling for the increase in shuttle fare, so madam President was on the field working to make ends meet and was unavoidably absent”.
Hon. Aigbogun further described the suspension of the President as unconstitutional and a gross violation of her constitutional right as enshrined in section 36, (1) of the 1999 constitution which the Students’ Union constitution is subject to by virtue of section 3(1) of the SUG constitution.
Section 36 (1) of the 1999 constitution provides that;
“In the determination of his rights and obligations, including any question or determination by or against any government or authority, a person shall be entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable time…” But this cannot be said of the suspension of Madam President.
Speaking further, Hon. Aigbogun stated that it was ‘alleged’ that the President tore the letter given to her by The Parliament. “The Parliament before suspending her ought to have heard her own part of the story. Allegation no matter how grave can never ground conviction – this is the position of the law”.
“Nobody knows if she actually tore the said letter. Even if she did, the parliament should have summoned her to inquire from her the reasons for her actions; if it is not excusable, have her punished”.
“What transpired in the third (3rd) plenary sitting according to the Attorney General was witch-hunting as no member of the executive was given room to speak even though they were raising their hands as a sign of indication”.
The Attorney General advised that it was high time the union allow the ‘rule of law’ hold sway. If not, Nigeria as a country will continue to suffer legal setbacks.
Meanwhile, failure of the Secretary General to account for the crested inscription on the white NISSAN Bus donated by the former Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole which has an inscription: “Office of the President, Students’ Union Government, University of Benin…” led to his suspension after much deliberations involving motions and counter motions.
Being accountable for the union properties was said to be part of his constitutional duties as the Secretary General.