There has been outrage from several quarters following a viral video that showed some lecturers of Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, using scissors on a female student.
In the video obtained by our correspondent, the lecturers, who were identified as Blessing Timothy (female) and Melford Itari (male), were seen forcibly trying to cut the hair of the female student, identified simply as Princess Amadi.
“It happened on Thursday at 11 am. They were going round for sensitisation on dress code. I was leaving my class and she (Timothy) called me to where she was. She started asking me: ‘What’s wrong with your dressing?’ ‘My bag?’ I replied. ‘Your bag is not my issue,’ she answered. ‘I asked her, what?’ ‘Are you asking me?’ She replied, turning to ask her colleague, ‘tell this girl what is wrong with her dressing. ‘ ‘Your hair, the colleague said. ‘My hair?’ I turned around saying ‘my hair is not long.’
She noted that the lecturer flared up because she (Amadi) was responding to her, saying she was very stubborn.
“You’re trying to show that you’re very stubborn,’’ she quoted the lecturer to have said. She revealed that the lecturers insisted that even if her father was the governor, they would still have her hair cut.
Student leaders fume
In a letter directed to the Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University, Professor Christian Wigwe, signed by Attorney General of the Law Students Association of Nigeria, Kelechi Nwodo, on Thursday, titled, RE: PHYSICAL ASSAULT, HARASSMENT, HUMILIATION, ABUSE, AND WANTON DISPLAY OF ARBITRARINESS UNBECOMING OF LEGAL PRACTITIONERS/LECTURERS ON STUDENTS OF THE FACULTY OF LAW, RIVERS STATE,’ the association condemned the assault on the female student, asking the Dean to act on the matter.
The letter, copied to the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof Nlerum Okogbule, read partly, “My attention has been brought to a distasteful and highly scandalous video emanating from your Faculty which showed an unruly display of aggression, intimidation and conduct likely to cause bodily harm, and disdain for the dignity of students by some lecturers of the Faculty masquerading as dress code enforcers.
“As evinced in the video, the said lecturers, Timothy and Itari, did not only harass the female student, but also endangered her life as the scissors wielded by Timothy in the video could have caused severe and life-threatening injury to the young student in the course of the encounter.”
The statement also revealed that the lecturers smashed the phones of students who were said to be recording the incident. The association described this as a gross display of impunity and an embarrassing development coming from those who should know the law.
LAWSAN also called for compensation for the students whose phones were destroyed.
“Our position is clear; everyone has a right to personal liberty, an inalienable right. Also, the faculty of law has rules guiding it, it is expected that students abide by those rules. On the other hand, whether or not a student has violated any rule, it is not sufficient for anybody to take laws into their hands. I feel that those rules should not be taken up by a person but by the law itself.
“I have seen the video, I don’t have the detail yet, but the code of conduct should be followed. The indiscriminate cutting of people’s hair or writing on their shirts, I think that is overrated. That is out of place. The discussion has been ongoing for over 24 hours now. My deputies are not happy about it.
Management to give details later
When contacted via the Telephone, Friday evening, the Dean of the Directorate of Student Affairs of the institution, Professor Bright Opara, noted that the management would give report hopefully on Monday.
On what dress codes or hairstyle ]were available for the students of the institution, Prof Opara said he couldn’t make comment at the moment, “I can’t make comment now until I get the detail of the matter.
“If he (the President) briefs me within the weekend, I will know whether the lecturer stays on campus or off campus, then the student who is involved, I will get the two sides and I will be in a better position to brief the Vice Chancellor and what to say to you thereafter.”
Efforts to reach the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Wigwe, and the Public Relations Officer of the university, Mr. Emeka Egbuchu, proved abortive as they were yet to respond to emails sent on Friday to their official e-mail addresses available of the university’s website, as of the time of filing this report. CONTINUE READING……..