Parents of six students detained in prison for seven months by the management of Madonna University, Okija, Anambra State, on Thursday vowed not to apologise to the institution for their children’s action.
The students were detained for allegedly criticising the university on social media.
Speaking with our Correspondent in Awka, the Anambra State capital, one of the parents, Mr. Christopher Onyejekwe, said that during one of their recent meetings with the university’s management, it was agreed that the students’ matter in court be withdrawn in the interest of peace to all the parties in the suit.
He added, “Sequel to the meeting we had with Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Ralph Madu, the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Madonna University; the Registrar of Madonna University and the Rector of the Saviourite House of Formation, Fr. Dr. Oliver Udaya, on 24th day of September 2019 at Assumpta Cathedral, Owerri, we, the accused persons of a case before the Federal High Court Awka with suit No: FHC/FHC/C/03/2019 decided to give peace a chance.
“We also took into good view the concerns of many Catholic Bishops, especially Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor of Awka Diocese and Most Rev. Hilary Okeke of Nnewi Diocese.
“We realised that giving peace a chance will be in the best interest of the image of the church, the image of Madonna and decided to settle the matter at a roundtable.”
Onyejekwe said one of the conditions for settling the matter out of court was for the university to release the seized results of the affected students and mobilise them for the National Youth Service Corps.
“We were optimistic that the voice of reason would prevail; but when the resolution of our meeting was presented to the founder of the university, Rev. Father Edeh, he asked us to tender individual apologies to the university.
“Why should we tender apologies to him for detaining our children in prison for seven months and ruining their career?
“We won’t do that. We’ve decided to carry on with the matter in court. No going back,” Onyejekwe stated.
When contacted on the telephone for a reaction, the Deputy Registrar of the university, Mr. Charles Njoku, said, “I can’t react.
“They have just sacked me from the university without any reason given to me. I’m in my house.”
Asked whether his sacking had anything to do with the students’ matter, Njoku said, I don’t know. They didn’t give me any reason for my sack.”
When Justice Babatunde Quadri of the Federal High Court 2, Awka, Anambra State, granted the students bail in July, he adjourned the matter to October 7, 2019 for further hearing.