‘SAN APPLICANT ON LPPC SHORTLIST ADMITTED EXAM MISCONDUCT GUILT,’ SAYS UNIJOS
Embattled applicant for the coveted rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Prof. Benedicta Daudu admitted the offence of examination misconduct in Terms of Settlement signed by her and filed in court, her former employer, the University of Jos (UNIJOS) has stated.
Daudu, formerly an associate professor of Law and head of the Department of Jurisprudence and International Law at the UNIJOS Faculty of Law, has come under renewed scrutiny following her shortlisting by the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC) for the final phase of the 2023 conferment exercise. The committee has invited petitions against the shortlisted applicants in line with its rules.
In a disclaimer by the university obtained by CITY LAWYER, it denied apologizing to Daudu over the examination misconduct scandal, adding that the embattled SAN applicant was barred from returning to the university as a staff but permitted to return as a student “having served her punishment of suspension” for the offence.
According to the statement by UNIJOS Registrar, Chief Monday M. Danjem, the Terms of Settlement agreed between the university and Daudu stated that “The University will allow Dr. (Mrs.) Daudu to return to the University as a Student (not as a Staff). This is having served her punishment of suspension for one Academic Session for Examination Misconduct.”
In return, “Dr. (Mrs.) Daudu undertook not to pursue the Appeal filed at the Court of Appeal against the Judgment delivered in favour of the University by the National Industrial Court, Abuja.”
In the clearest indication that the SAN applicant admitted guilt for examination misconduct, UNIJOS stated that “The Terms of Settlement was agreed upon and executed by both Parties and their Counsel and filed in Court while awaiting the Court to adopt same as its Consent Judgment.”
The disclaimer arose following newspaper reports that the university authority had cleared the embattled Law teacher of any culpability in the examination misconduct saga.
The UNIJOS Chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU had also weighed in on the scandal, aligning with the position of the university authority.
Its Chairperson, Dr. Lazarus Maigoro, had stated that ”Our position is based on the fact that Daudu appeared before the university Senate Committee on examination misconduct and accepted committing the misconduct and was punished accordingly.
“On July 13, 2016, the then Registrar of the University, who was the secretary to Senate, conveyed to Daudu via a memo, the Senate decision suspending her as a student from the institution for one academic session.
“Examination misconduct whether it is a lecturer or a student that is involved is a serious breach of examination ethics that cannot go unpunished.
“Therefore, to say that UNIJOS cleared her of examination misconduct as captured in media publications is not true, and as major stakeholders, our union felt obliged to present the true position.”
CITY LAWYER recalls that Daudu was forced out of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) when the examination misconduct scandal first emerged. Following her forced disengagement from UNIJOS, she moved to Taraba State University where she was appointed Dean, Faculty of Law.
Below is the full text of the UNIJOS disclaimer.
UNIVERSITY OF JOS
OFFICE OF THE REGISTRAR
REJOINDER ON NEWS PUBLICATIONS TITLED “EXAM MALPRACTICE: UNIJOS CLEARS LAW PROF. 5 YEARS AFTER” PUBLISHED IN VANGUARD NEWSPAPER OF TUESDAY MAY 11, 2021 AND “UNIJOS CLEARS, REINSTATES PROFESSOR DAUDU” PUBLISHED IN THE GUARDIAN OF SUNDAY, MAY 16, 2021.
The attention of Management of the University of Jos has been drawn to a misleading report that has gone viral in the social media and was published in the Vanguard Newspaper of Tuesday May 11th, 2021 on page 6 captioned “Exam Malpractice: UniJos clears Law Prof. 5 years after” and the Guardian of Sunday, May 16th, 2021 captioned “UniJos Clears, Reinstates Prof. Daudu”.
The reports carried a distorted account of a matter that transpired between the University of Jos and one of its former employees, Dr (Mrs) Benedicta Daudu, formerly of the Department of International Law and Jurisprudence, Faculty of Law which the University had amicably settled out of Court. Management wishes to state categorically that the information contained in the said publications are false, baseless and very likely, a deliberate attempt to misrepresent the issues with the intent of embarrassing the University.
The University vehemently dissociates itself from statements from the said publications claiming that Dr (Mrs.) Daudu had been absolved of the allegations of Examination Misconduct earlier preferred against her by the University.
Had the Reporters exercised greater diligence in gathering their information, they would have discovered that the claim that “After five years, the Management of the University of Jos has absolved Professor Benedicta Daudu of the institution’s Faculty of Law from wrongdoing saying the allegation of examination malpractice levelled against her was unfounded” is a complete misrepresentation of the facts of the matter. Indeed, the premise on which the entire report is based is patently deceptive and appears to have been done purposely with the intent of misleading members of the public regarding what had actually happened.
The Reporters, contrary to the ethics of professional journalism, chose to base their entire reports on a document purportedly emanating from the office of the University Registrar, Chief Monday Danjem without the courtesy of giving him an opportunity to respond. Furthermore, whereas there are a number of other documents that contain additional facts on the matter, it appears they either did not want to further interrogate those available facts, or may have kept the full picture from the knowledge of their Editors for reasons best known to them. Whatever their reasons for writing such a one-sided and obviously misleading report, the University wishes to state as follows:
That Dr. (Mrs.) Benedicta Daudu, formerly of the Department of International Law and Jurisprudence, University of Jos enrolled for a Master’s Degree Programme in Research and Public Policy (MRPP) in the 2014/2015 Academic Session, in the Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences. It was alleged that Dr. Daudu had brought in foreign unauthorized material into the Examination hall which constitutes an act of serious examination misconduct in line with Section 3 of the University of Jos Students’ Handbook. She appeared before the Senate Examination Misconduct Committee and accepted committing the misconduct.
Dr. (Mrs.) Daudu was suspended as a Student for one academic session by the University Senate. She was also suspended as a member of Staff of the University. Consequently, the matter was referred to the Council/Senate Disciplinary Committee for further investigation. However, Dr. (Mrs.) Daudu filed a matter against the University challenging the commencement of disciplinary proceedings against her in the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), Abuja. As a result, the Council/Senate Disciplinary Committee could not proceed with its investigations until the final determination of the matter in Court. Judgment was delivered on the 17th October, 2019 in favour of the University.
After the Judgment was delivered, Dr. (Mrs.) Daudu was invited to appear before the Council/Senate Disciplinary Committee for her involvement in examination misconduct as a Staff of the University. Instead of honouring the said invitation, she tendered her resignation of Appointment as a Staff of the University dated the 28th November, 2019 and filed another Suit in the same NICN challenging the University’s Council/Senate Disciplinary Committee’s powers to invite her to appear before it, having resigned her appointment. The Court delivered its Ruling in favour of Dr. (Mrs.) Daudu, declaring that, having resigned her appointment as a Staff of the University, the University can no longer subject her to its disciplinary procedures.
Meanwhile, being dissatisfied with the initial Judgment of the NICN Abuja, which upheld her suspension as Staff of the University for Examination Misconduct, Dr. (Mrs.) Daudu appealed against the said Judgment delivered in favour of the University. While her Appeal was still pending, both the University and Dr. (Mrs.) Daudu decided to explore the option of settlement. Consequent upon which Terms of Settlement were drawn up among which it was agreed that;
The University accepts Dr. (Mrs.) Daudu’s resignation and withdraws the Letter of Invitation directing her to appear before the Council/Senate Disciplinary Committee
The University will allow Dr. (Mrs.) Daudu to return to the University as a Student (not as a Staff). This is having served her punishment of suspension for one Academic Session for Examination Misconduct.
Dr. (Mrs.) Daudu undertook not to pursue the Appeal filed at the Court of Appeal against the Judgment delivered in favour of the University by the National Industrial Court, Abuja.
The University agreed to pay Dr. (Mrs.) Daudu all her withheld half salaries that accrued to her while serving her suspension as a Staff.
The Terms of Settlement was agreed upon and executed by both Parties and their Counsel and filed in Court while awaiting the Court to adopt same as its Consent Judgment. Find attached a copy of her Resignation Letter, Certified True Copy of NICN Judgement and the Terms of Settlement between both parties.
From the foregoing and for the avoidance of doubt, Dr (Mrs) Benedicta Daudu was never absolved of wrongdoing regarding the allegation of Examination Misconduct, an allegation which she never challenged in Court and for which she served a period of Suspension as a Student. As the facts would bear out, Dr (Mrs) Daudu only challenged her suspension as a Staff and the invitation to appear before the Council/Senate Disciplinary Committee as a Staff.
Again, there was never a time that the University apologized to Dr (Mrs) Daudu for lawful steps it had taken following her act of serious Examination Misconduct. It is worth noting that Dr (Mrs) Daudu was free to return as a Student of the University’s Master’s Degree Programme in Research and Public Policy (MRPP) having served her Suspension for Two (2) Semesters. Any claims that she was reinstated as a Staff is untrue since she had voluntarily tendered her resignation from the University. This fact was properly captured in the Terms of Settlement between both parties.
In light of the above, the University demands as follows:
The Vanguard and Guardian Newspapers should also as a matter of urgency publish this rejoinder in response to their Newspaper Publication of Tuesday, May 11, 2021 and Sunday May 16, 2021 respectively.
Chief Monday M. Danjem
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