Court Awards Damages to Graduates of Defunct College of Agriculture

Governor Udom Emmanuel and Professor Victor Inoka - Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Education
Governor Udom Emmanuel and Professor Victor Inoka - Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Education

A High Court sitting in Etinan, Akwa Ibom State has awarded N1million to each of the HND graduates of the defunct College of Agriculture, Obio Akpa in Oruk Anam Local Government Area in a case brought against Akwa Ibom government by graduates of the institution.

Delivering judgment Tuesday, Justice Pius Idiong, the presiding judge, who also awarded N500,000 to each of the National Diploma graduates from the school, explained that the money serves as damages for the ex-students over sudden closure of the school and refusal of the government to issue certificates to the students after their graduation.

The plaintiffs had approached the court to seek redress having been thrown out after receiving only statements of result when the state government proscribed the college in 2009 and handed over the campus to Akwa Ibom State University.

StraightNews reports that the ex-students who besieged the court premises in large numbers were excited about the court’s ruling.

Ada Okonkwo, counsel to the plaintiffs said the judgment has further portrayed the court as the last hope for the common man.

Barrister Ada stated that the plaintiffs who waited for seven years after graduation had previously explored various means in attempt to resolve the matter amicably, but the state government refused to attend to their pleas.

She expressed surprise that after the school had advertised for vacancies, collected deposits, schools fees and issues statements of result, yet could issue certificates to the beneficiaries.

Counsel to the state government, however, refused to respond to questions from newsmen including whether they will proceed to appeal the judgment in a higher court.