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Following the release of a viral video showing some teachers at Rivers State University in Port Harcourt cutting a female student with scissors, there has been indignation from a variety of sources.
According to reports, the event happened on Thursday at the Faculty of Law.
The instructors, identified as Blessing Timothy (female) and Melford Itari (male) in the footage obtained by our correspondent, can be seen attempting to forcibly trim the hair of the female student, Princess Amadi.
While the female instructor was cutting her with scissors, the male lecturer was holding her down.
Speaking to The PUNCH on Friday, Amadi described her experience and revealed that the lecturers had humiliated and deeply embarrassed her.
“It occurred at 11 a.m. on Thursday. They were going around to educate people about the clothing code. Timothy contacted me as I was leaving class to go see her. She began by enquiring as to what was wrong with my attire. ‘My bag?’ I answered. Your bag is not a problem for me, she replied. I inquired, “What?” Are you questioning me? Tell this girl what’s wrong with her dressing, she retorted as she turned to face her coworker. The coworker commented on your hair. Your hair? I said, turning around, “My hair is not long.”
Why do you say that? Is this a permitted hair color? Amadi cited the lecturer’s alleged question.
The student stated that she had been attending the school with the hair like other students.
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.
Amadi was seen battling the two lecturers in the video while simultaneously attempting to keep himself safe from the pointy instrument.
irate student leaders
Attorney General of the Law Students Association of Nigeria, Kelechi Nwodo, wrote a letter on Thursday addressed to Professor Christian Wigwe, Dean of the University’s Faculty of Law, with the subject line “RE: PHYSICAL ASSAULT, HARASSMENT, HUMILIATION, ABUSE, AND WANTON DISPLAY OF ARBITRARINESS UNBECOMING OF LEGAL PRACTITIONERS/LECTURERS ON STUDENTS OF The group demanded that the Dean take action in response to the assault on the female student.
The letter, which was addressed to the university’s vice chancellor, Prof. Nlerum Okogbule, stated in part, “My attention has been drawn to a terrible 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, when contacted by our correspondent, on Friday, 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,” he said.
Later, management will provide details
The institution’s Dean of Student Affairs, Professor Bright Opara, stated that the administration would ideally provide a report on Monday when reached by phone on Friday evening.
“I just got a report from the president of the SUG. I’m missing the specifics from those involved, he said.
Prof. Opara declined to comment on the availability of dress or hair codes for the institution’s students at this time, saying, “I can’t make remark now till I know the detail of the problem.
“If he (the President) informs me within the weekend, I will know whether the lecturer lives on campus or off campus, and then the student who is involved, I will get the two sides and I will be in a better position to brief the Vice Chancellor and what to say to you thereafter.”
Efforts to reach the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Wigwe, and the Public Relations Officer of the university, Mr. Emeka Egbuchu, proved abortive as they were yet to respond to emails sent on Friday to their official e-mail addresses available of the university’s website, as of the time of filing this report.