Students of the Department of Foreign Languages of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) have petitioned the university authorities over the misconduct of a lecturer, Stella Omonigho, who was acting as the representative of the department head, Austin Moye.
According to the petition, Mrs. Omonigho, among other actions, ordered a cancellation of the students' dinner and award program a few minutes before its commencement. She was said to have ordered the cancellation because the students had not filled the venue before she arrived there at 4:30 PM. Mrs. Omonigho was accompanied by the staff adviser, Gloria Shuaibu, while giving the order for the cancellation of the event. Both lecturers were said to have invited campus security officers to eject the students from the venue, declaring that it would no longer hold.
In the petition copied to the Vice Chancellor as well as faculty and departmental offices, the students demanded a refund of the money they spent on hiring the venue, the return of food and drinks bought for the cancelled event, as well as an investigation of Mrs. Omonigho for academic victimization.
According to the students, their explanation to Mrs. Omonigho and Mrs. Shuaibu that the event was a dinner and was slated to start a bit later was rejected. They also said Mrs. Omonigho, assisted by campus security men, seized the drinks and food meant for the event and took them away.
Some executive members of the Foreign Languages Students' Association (FOLSA), who tried to explain to the security men that having paid for the venue entitled them to its use, were assaulted by the security officers.
The students stated in the petition that they paid N2,500 each to participate in the program on 29 July but were denied their anticipated experience despite all preparations.
FOLSA executive members, who approached the lecturer to demand an explanation for the arbitrary cancellation of their event and assault on them, said Mrs. Omonigho threatened to ensure they fail in their examinations, an action that carried a strong whiff of academic victimization.
"She asked us if we remember that our exams scripts have not yet been marked," a member of the association's executive council told SaharaReporters.
The students reported that the lecturer had approached the student leaders afterward with smiles and offered a bribe of N10,000 to quell the growing anger of the students, but her bribe was rejected, as the leaders excused her on the ground that the students would turn against them.