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Even after NYSC, UNN expels graduate for exam malpractice

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By Chinagorom Ugwu

The authorities of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) have expelled a graduate and a final year student of the institution over allegation of impersonation during an examination.

Last week, a memo from the university’s registrar unit, had surfaced online stating that the expulsions of one Okorie Success, a male from the department of political science and Akwaugo Oparaeke Ethel, a female from the department of sociology and anthropology, had been approved by the university senate, both having been found guilty of impersonation.

The memo, dated July 6, 2021 and distributed to many key officers of the university, was signed by the head of the senate affairs unit of the institution, Dr Nelson Obetta.

The memo titled, ‘Re: Report of Committee on Investigation into the Alleged Cases of Examination Malpractice in the School of General Studies,’ indicated that the 407th seating of the university senate “approved that the underlisted two students should be expelled from the university, having been found guilty of impersonation under category ‘A’ offence, in line with Chapter 3.9 of the undergraduate academic regulations. They are; Okorie Success from the department of Political Science (and) Oparaeke Akwaugo Ethel from the department of Sociology and Anthropology.”

When contacted, the institution’s public relations officer, Dr. Okwun Omeaku, declined to comment on the matter, insisting that he would not react to social media posts.

However, when reached for comments, the institution’s registrar, Barrister Chris Igbokwe, confirmed to our correspondent that ‘some people’ were expelled by the university authorities for impersonation. Igbokwe, however, could not give the names of the victims, noting that he needed to look into records to do so, even as he admitted that the ‘memo’ emanated from the registrar’s unit, following a decision by the institution’s senate during its last meeting.

Igbokwe, however, confirmed that the university “Senate took decision concerning some people at its last meeting. But it is a fact that some people were expelled due to impersonation,” apparently referring to the names of the people expelled in the memo.

He explained that, although it was not every category of examination malpractice in the institution that required expulsion of the offenders, maximum penalty for offences in category ‘A’ was expulsion. According to him, that category of offences captured the procuring of mercenaries or acting as mercenary to write an examination for somebody in the institution.

It was not clear, as at press time, whether the expelled students procured mercenaries or acted as mercenaries to write an examination for somebody in the institution.

However, Orient Weekend reliably gathered that the incident occurred about three years ago during a General Studies Course examination, ‘GSP 106- Introduction to Natural Science 2.’

One of the people expelled, Okorie Success, our correspondent gathered, had graduated in 2019 from the political science department of the institution and also completed his one-year mandatory national youth service in Nasarawa state before the decision was taken by the university senate. Also, the second victim, Oparaeke Akwaugo Ethel is a final year student from the department of sociology and anthropology of the institution, who has completed her final year examinations and was ready to defend her final year degree project.

When asked why it took the university so long deal with the matter, Igbokwe blamed it on the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the prolonged ASUU strike, stressing that a lot of things had to be paused during the periods.

He, however, said that when a crime is committed, the culprit will eventually be dealt with, no matter how long it took to dish out the penalty. 

Asked how the expulsion would take effect on the graduated student, the registrar insisted that the university had the power to withdraw certificates issued to students who had left school through any ‘unholy’ means.

Barrister Igbokwe said “Well, the university has the powers to withdraw certificates. If the student has left the school through any unholy means, then, the university knows how to do that. The person can be withdrawn at any point in time.”

However, Orient Weekend learnt from reliable sources that original degree certificates had not been issued to 2019 graduates of the institution as at the time of this report, despite the university holding its 49th convocation for the graduated students on June 11, 2021.

When contacted, one of two affected students, Okorie Success, told Orient Weekend that he was surprised to learn of the expulsion after that the issue was ‘trashed out’ at the panel set up by the General Studies Programme Department of the institution, more than three years ago, when the then accused students were summoned.

Okorie, who said he was in the university to know what was going on, insisted that the allegation of impersonation was false as he was not impersonating during the examination. 

Okorie said, “I wasn’t impersonating (during the examination). We have actually gone to the panel where they thrashed the thing out and I thought everything had been settled. It was on Monday that I started hearing the rumor about the expulsion. And I saw a memo today. So, I am actually surprised.”

Oparaeke Akwaugo Ethel, the other expelled students, confirmed the expulsion to Orient Weekend in a text message, but declined to give details, saying she was yet to inform her guardians of the expulsion.

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