Garba v.University of Maiduguri with Disciplinary issues in Tertiary Institutions Introduction A watershed moment in the landscape of the nation’s judicial decisions took place in the last century in the case of Garba v.University of Maiduguri Where the Supreme Court laid down a marker in respect of disciplinary issues in our tertiary institutions, and the limits and otherwise of the powers of institutions to punish erring students. The decision has been the subject of criticism, and it has been subjected to several scrutinies through several cases which has besieged the courts over the years. This article will attempt to reconcile disciplinary issues in the tertiary institution and the ropes that bind the various bodies that can prescribe the required punishment.
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Salient points were raised by the Supreme Court in this case on rules of natural justice and the fact that an offence which amounts to a crime punishable by a court was not within the remit of a university disciplinary board to pass punishment, until a court has first done so. The question is would the decision of the Supreme Court be different had the rules of natural justice being observed, and if the proper channel of judicial punishment had be carried out in the first instance. Indeed some commentators had stated that the Supreme Court decision raises concern as to the proper limit of all University disciplinary functions, the rights of an aggrieved student and the proper nature of judicial intervention in the domestic sphere. Is there a limit to the scope of disciplinary issues a tertiary institution can handle vis-Ã -vis the enormity of the offence? This article will attempt to proffer answers to these questions. The Facts and principles laid down in Garba v.University of Maiduguri The extant law or enabling statute of most Universities have similar provisions that for the discipline of student. Section 18 of the University of Maiduguri Act 1979 is here reproduced. It provides: (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, where it appears to the Vice-Chancellor that any student of the University has been guilty of misconduct, the Vice-Chancellor may, without prejudice to any other disciplinary powers conferred on him by statute or regulations, direct- (a) that the student shall not, during such period as may be specified in the direction, participate in such activities of the University, or make use of such facilities of the University, as may be so specified; or (b) that the activities of the student shall, during such period as may be specified in the direction, be restricted in such manner as may be so specified; or (c) that the student be rusticated for such period as may be specified in the direction;
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