Parents of students of Madonna University, Okija, Anambra State have threatened to withdraw their children from the institution following detention of six students of the institution and a lecturer.
The media last week was awash of reports of school’s management detention of six students and a lecturer at the Awka prison since February.
The detainees were accused of expressing opinion on Facebook the institution considered damaging.
The media reports, the Nation gathered had generated public outcry including threats by some parents who thronged the university to withdraw their wards.
Speaking with the Nation, one of the parents, Christopher Onyejekwe, whose son was among the detainees, said he had visited the founder of the University, Rev Fr Emmanuel Edeh over ten times to beg for his son’s the release.
He however regretted that such appeals had fell on deaf ears.
He said, “Fr Ede arrested my son since February 19 till date, saying that he will not release them until they die in prison.
“I have approached Fr. Edeh to appeal to him. When the police arrested students, I went to Fr. Edeh 11 times and met him. On the 11th time, the only condition he gave me was to go and pray, which I did.
“After a while, I went to him with three prominent persons, knelt before him to beg him, but he said over his dead body that the children must surely die in prison.
“He added that if I like I should bring the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to come and beg him.
“That was how I stopped going to beg him. They continued to detain them in police custody for more than a month before they were taken to Awka Prison.”
Another parent who spoke in confidence, said the period of begging for the students’ release had gone, adding that the only option was to withdraw the child from the school.
She said, “There is tension in that school now. A management staff of the school reportedly slumped on Thursday, following mass request by parents and guardians to withdraw their children and wards from the school.
“Public opinion is against them and they will have no other option than to free those children and their lecturer because they did not commit any offence.
“We won’t beg anybody any more. We are ready to fight it out.”
The Vice President, national affairs of National Association Nigerian Students, Chidi Ilogebe disclosed that plans had been concluded to fulfill its threat of shutting down the university if the detained students and their lecturer were not released immediately.
He said, “There are so many developments on the matter. First, we want to perfect the bail conditions given to our detained members on or before Tuesday.
“The IPO had declined to recognised the sureties earlier produced by relations of the detained students, apparently acting on instruction from above.
“So, we are re-strategising to produce other sureties on or before Tuesday to ensure that our members are released.
“Certain people are of the opinion that our members will only be released on the next adjourning date which is July 2, but we are saying no to that because they were granted bail by the court since February.
” So, we shall perfect the bail conditions latest on Tuesday. If they fail to release our members that day, we will shutdown Madonna university as we stated in our seven-day ultimatum. No two ways about it”, the NANS leader stated.
The matter which was due for hearing at the Federal High Court, Awka on Tuesday could not hold due to the absence of the presiding judge, Justice Babatunde Quadri.
According to an 11-count charge preferred against the defendants, the prosecutor, Mr A.N. Obo, said the publications on the social media were injurious to the image of the proprietor and the institution.
He said the alleged offences were punishable under sections 27 (1) (b) and 24 (1) (b) of the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015