Madonna

Freedom appears to be in sight for the six students of Madonna University, Okija, Anambra State, and one of their lecturers who have been released from prison custody on bail following an amicable resolution reached with the University authority.

It was gathered that the case which has lasted one year in Court took a positive dimension when the parents of the students yielded to the demand of the prosecution counsel, Arthur Obi-Okafor, SAN to apologise to the proprietor of the institution, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Ede.

At the resumed hearing of the case in Awka on Monday, the court was informed that all the seven defendants had reached an understanding with the University, thus paving way for amicable resolution of the matter.

Counsel to the defendants, Mr. Chinedu Igwe, welcomed the decision of the learned SAN to end the matter, saying: “We have made the submission of the students to reach an agreement with the university.

“As it stands, everybody is on the same page now. It is a welcome development because the students need to continue with their lives because they have suffered so much.

“We hope that all the charges will be withdrawn by March 4.”

Speaking at the court premises, Chief Christopher Onyejekwe, a parent of one of the students said that he supported the position of the prosecution counsel, arguing that one should not build a house and destroy it.

“I have been going to the blessed sacrament and praying day and night and today I give glory to Jesus our Saviour and Blessed Virgin Mary.

“I handed this matter over to them and I am happy that our prayers are answered. Our desire is that these children should be given their certificates to enable them go for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) so that this matter should be closed finally.

“I am not happy that many parents have withdrawn their children from the university because of this issue. It is our expectation that we should reconcile so that those who have withdrawn their children should bring them back.

“I was one of the people that led the campaign against the university, but I have realised that it is not good to fight one of the best tertiary institutions we have in this part of the country.

“It is also children from this part of Nigeria that populate the school and we should therefore protect its interest.

“I have been part of Madonna University since its inception and I will continue to support its growth and development.

“Fr. Edeh is a good man, but it appeared that some of the people working in that University were causing the problem.”

Onyejekwe who was in the forefront while the case lasted called on the university authorities to work towards fishing out the bad eggs in the institution and do away with them to avoid giving the university bad name.

He also commended the action of the founder of the university, Rev. Fr. Edeh, on the matter and hoped that the whole thing would end on the next adjourned date.

The presiding judge, Justice Babatunde Quadri, adjourned the case to March 4, 2020.

The embattled Madonna 7 were arrested in January 2019 from their various locations in the country and detained in prison custody in Awka and Onitsha till July 2019 over alleged unfavorable remarks against the University.

They were later charged to the Federal High Court, Awka, where the matter has been on.

Source: Pamela Eboh, Awka