There has been outrage from several quarters following a viral video that showed some lecturers of Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, using scissors on a female student.
The incident was said to have taken place last week Thursday at the Faculty of Law.
In the video, the lecturers, who were identified as Blessing Timothy (female) and Melford Itari (male), were seen forcibly trying to cut the hair of the female student, identified simply as Princess Amadi.
The male lecturer was holding her down while the female lecturer was using scissors on her.
Amadi narrated her ordeal, revealing that she was humiliated and highly embarrassed by the lecturers.
“It happened on Thursday at 11 am. They were going round for sensitisation on dress code. I was leaving my class and she (Timothy) called me to where she was. She started asking me: ‘What’s wrong with your dressing?’ ‘My bag?’ I replied. ‘Your bag is not my issue,’ she answered. ‘I asked her, what?’ ‘Are you asking me?’ She replied, turning to ask her colleague, ‘tell this girl what is wrong with her dressing. ‘ ‘Your hair, the colleague said. ‘My hair?’ I turned around saying ‘my hair is not long.’
“What do you mean by that? Is this the approved colour of hair?’’ Amadi quoted the lecturer to have asked.
The student noted that she, like other students, had been coming to the school with the hair, noting that brown attachment had always been used in the school even since the last semester.
She noted that the lecturer flared up because she (Amadi) was responding to her, saying she was very stubborn.
“You’re trying to show that you’re very stubborn,’’ she quoted the lecturer to have said. She revealed that the lecturers insisted that even if her father was the governor, they would still have her hair cut.
She narrated how she was pinned down by the male lecturer, Itari, while the female lecturer, Timothy, cut her hair.
In the video, it was seen how Amadi struggled with the two lecturers, while also trying to avoid being injured by the sharp object.
In a letter directed to the Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University, Professor Christian Wigwe, signed by Attorney General of the Law Students Association of Nigeria, Kelechi Nwodo, on Thursday, titled, RE: PHYSICAL ASSAULT, HARASSMENT, HUMILIATION, ABUSE, AND WANTON DISPLAY OF ARBITRARINESS UNBECOMING OF LEGAL PRACTITIONERS/LECTURERS ON STUDENTS OF THE FACULTY OF LAW, RIVERS STATE,’ the association condemned the assault on the female student, asking the Dean to act on the matter.
The letter, copied to the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof Nlerum Okogbule, read partly, “My attention has been brought to a distasteful and highly scandalous video emanating from your Faculty which showed an unruly display of aggression, intimidation and conduct likely to cause bodily harm, and disdain for the dignity of students by some lecturers of the Faculty masquerading as dress code enforcers.
“As evinced in the video, the said lecturers, Timothy and Itari, did not only harass the female student, but also endangered her life as the scissors wielded by Timothy in the video could have caused severe and life-threatening injury to the young student in the course of the encounter.”
The statement also revealed that the lecturers allegedly smashed the phones of students who were said to be recording the incident. The association described this as “a gross display of impunity and an embarrassing” development coming from those who should know the law.
“LAWSAN hereby demands that immediate disciplinary action be taken against the lecturers involved,” the students stated.
LAWSAN also called for compensation for the students whose phones were said to have been destroyed.
Similarly, the President of LAWSAN, South-West Zone, Richard Solomon, also decried the situation.
The Students’ Union Government President of the institution, Kelechi Omano, also gave the position of the union.
“Our position is clear; everyone has a right to personal liberty, an inalienable right. Also, the faculty of law has rules guiding it, it is expected that students abide by those rules. On the other hand, whether or not a student has violated any rule, it is not sufficient for anybody to take laws into their hands. I feel that those rules should not be taken up by a person but by the law itself.
“I have seen the video, I don’t have the detail yet, but the code of conduct should be followed. The indiscriminate cutting of people’s hair or writing on their shirts, I think that is overrated. That is out of place. The discussion has been ongoing for over 24 hours now. My deputies are not happy about it.
“We have reported the matter to appropriate quarters. The Dean of Students Affairs is in charge. They have invited us for the matter on Monday (today),” he said.
The Dean of the Directorate of Student Affairs of the institution, Professor Bright Opara, noted that the management would hopefully give a report today.
Source: The Punch