FUTO student cries out, alleges victimisation by varsity authority

An engineering student of the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), Imo State, Mr. Philip Brain Otobha, has petitioned the National Assembly alleging acts of Victimization, extortion and criminal breach of duty against the authorities of the university, which he claimed has stalled his graduation for over five years.

In the petition to the FUTO Vice-Chancellor and the Senate President, and copied to some individual members, including senator James Manager, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi and Hon Leo Ogor, the student attributed his inability to graduate from FUTO since 2014 on the alleged criminal actions and inaction of certain officials of the institution, particularly an engineering lecturer, William Akionbare.

The petition, amplified by an Asaba-based firm of legal practitioners, K. O. Ajayi & Co., claimed that the said lecturer and his course project adviser, had threatened to stop Philip Brain Otobha from graduating from the university for allegedly refusing to pay him the sum of N100,000 (one hundred thousand naira).

“That sometimes in 2014, one Engr. William Akionbare, a lecturer with FUTO who doubles as a course adviser and project supervisor, boasted outrightly that our Client can never graduate from the Federal University of Technology (FUTO), Owerri, Imo State, if he does not meet up with his selfish and laughable demand of N100,000 (one hundred thousand naira),” the petitioner’s lawyers alleged.

The petitioner, who hails from Emede in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State, said that he was seeking justice because the lectuer had made good his threat by deliberately ensuring he did not pass his course, PRT 504, as well as PRT 513 whose handler, Dr. O. Onanuju, the supervisor (Akionbare) allegedly connived with in his bid to frustrate him (the aggrieved student).

All previous attempts to get the FUTO authorities to redress the perceived injustice had been unsuccessful as the institution has refused to grant the request to have his scripts re-marked despite paying the stipulated fee for examination script re-marking since May 8, 2018, in respect of PRT 504 and PRT 513 courses.

The payment to re-mark his two examination scripts was duly acknowledged by two official receipts, Number 0764007 and Number 0764008 both dated 8th May, 2018, which were also attached to the petition.

The student’s petition to the FUTO Vice-Chancellor read in part, “It is with bitterness and pains that I bring to your notice the height of victimization I have suffered from my Course Adviser/Supervisor, Engr William Akionbare, who marked me down on PRT 504, which I took in Rain Semester of 2014, as a result of reasons best known to him.

“I have employed several means of making peace with him because of the sensitivity of his position in my life as my course adviser and lecturer but all this proved abortive. Hence I have applied to the Registrar for re-marking of my script; and, a copy of my application is attached for the veracity of my claim only.”

Nevertheless, it was further learnt that although the university had duly acknowledged receipt of the petition routed through K.O. Ajayi and Co. to the office of the FUTO Registrar, the university has apparently been reluctant in taking concrete steps to solve the problem, including granting the examination scripts re-marking requested by the aggrieved student.

The acknowledgement, signed for the FUTO Registrar by H.O. Mezieobi, Esq. and dated October 15, 2018 nevertheless stated, “Rest assured that any party found wanting would face appropriate disciplinary actions.”

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