A Federal High Court sitting in Jos presided by Justice M.H. Kurya has
awarded N5million in general and exemplary damages against a lecturer, Mr. Thaddeus Longduut, for victimizing a Masters Student, Georgia Mark Davou and causing her not to graduate from her Economics Masters program.
The Court in the case of Georgia Mark Davou V. University of Jos & 1OR FHC/J/CS/38/2018 which was decided on Wednesday 23 June,2021, ordered University of Jos to immediately pay the Plaintiff N100,000 (One hundred thousand naira) only in damages, reinstate the student, change her supervisor and ensure the final defense of her thesis is done within reasonable time.
Counsel to the Plaintiff, Gloria Mabeiam Ballason Esq of MIVE Legals firm, had in 2018 brought an application against the Defendants for arbitrarily withdrawing the Plaintiff from the Masters program on allegations of poor performance without complying with the school prospectus, granting the Plaintiff access to her results and without according her fair hearing when she petitioned the school for access to her results and on the victimization by the 2nd Defendant who was the Plaintiff’s Supervisor and who had frustrated and stopped the Plaintiff from participating in her final defence.
The 1st & 2nd Defendants led by N.V. Denden Esq of N.V. Denden & Co, argued that the Plaintiff had failed to meet the academic requirements of the school and the Court could not meddle into the domestic affairs of the School by acceding to the Plaintiffs application for the answer scripts, raw scores and marking scheme to be tendered before the Court. The Court held that where an institution fails to comply with the rules of fair hearing, it is the duty of the Court to fill the void.
The 2nd Defendant whose application to be struck out as party in the suit was rejected, failed to enter defense on the orders of court and failed to lead any evidence.
The Court found that the 1st Defendant did not prove that the Plaintiff had failed having sat for final exams and written the last chapter of her thesis. The 1st Defendant, the Court held, did not accord the Plaintiff fair hearing when the Plaintiff presented her Petition but found that the acts of the 2nd Defendant who lacked the qualifications to supervise the Plaintiff, frustrated her and was the fulcrum that set the chain of causation of violations noting also that it was unfortunate that the 2nd Defendant having mitigated the Plaintiff’s career, proceeded for his PhD abroad and cited that as reason why he could not file his defense.
The Court ordered the 2nd Defendant to pay the damages into the Plaintiff’s account before taking any other legal steps on the judgment.
Responding to the judgment, Gloria Mabeiam Ballason Esq thanked the Court and said the judgment was a laser intervention on who bears the liability for victimization of students noting that the judgment marks a watershed and will go a long way in improving accountability in Nigeria’s education sector especially in tertiary institutions.