Strong indications emerged yesterday that the 31 students of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti sued over damage done to the university’s facilities during a recent protest, may be allowed to settle the matter out of court.
A Chief Magistrate’s Court in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday adjourned hearing in the criminal case filed by the Police against the students over alleged participation in the violent protest that rocked the institution on February 7.
Chief Magistrate Adesoji Adegboye adjourned the matter following a request by the Police Prosecutor, Caleb Leramo, for the advice from the office of the Director of Public Prosecution.
The Police prosecutor told the court that there were peace moves between the student and ABUAD management, which gave a pointer that the matter could be dispensed off outside the court’s room.
He said, “There is no legal advice yet. I will therefore request for a short adjournment, hoping the advice would have arrived by then.”
Earlier, the Defence lawyer, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Abegunde, had requested for a short stand down of the matter.
“The court can’t work at their pace, whatever they want to do, they better hurry up.”
Meanwhile, founder of the institution, Chief Afe Babalola has declared that he has made up his mind not to impose financial sanctions on the generality of the students, thereby unjustifiably making the innocent to pay a sin of the guilty.
Babalola during a chat with Parents , Teachers Consultative Forum said: “I have made up my mind not to impose financial sanctions on all the students as it is the practice in some other institutions where issues like this had taken place in the past”.
“It has to be appreciated that those behind Sunday night disturbances were less than 200 out a total student population of well over 6000.
It will therefore be unfair, unjust and inequitable for me and/or the University Authorities to ask every student to pay for the sin and misconduct of just a few of them.
“If I do it, God will punish me. But I know for sure that the Almighty God that provided the resources for me to establish the University is still very much on the throne. He will provide the money to replace and/or repair the facilities the rampaging students damaged”.
However, Forum commended Babalola and the Authority of the University for not closing down the institution following last week’s disturbances by some students.
The PTCF’s Vice President, Prof. Olusegun Oladimeji, argued that closing down the University after the skirmishes would have led to a disruption and a dislocation of the University’s academic programmes.