Mrs Benedicta Daudu, A professor of law, who was suspended for examination malpractice by the University of Jos in 2015 is on the short list of candidates for the title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria by the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee (LPPC).
Prof Daudu, who appeared as number 11 on the LPPC shortlist of academic applicants in order of seniority at the Bar, committed examination malpractice when she 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.
According to a document obtained from the university, Dr. (Mrs.) Benedicta Daudu, formerly of the Department of International Law and Jurisprudence, University of Jos allegedly brought in foreign unauthorised 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,” the university authority stated in a document SaharaReporters obtained on Friday morning.
“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,” the school said.
The university stated in a rejoinder titled: “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,” that she was never absolved.
The school management stated categorically that the information contained in the said publications was false and baseless.
It said, “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.”
Putting the issues in proper perspective, the university in the statement signed by its Registrar, Chief Monday M. Danjem, stated that Daudu was suspended as a student for one academic session by the University Senate.
According to the statement, when Mrs Daudu’s case was referred to the Council/Senate Disciplinary Committee for further investigation, she filed a matter against the University challenging the commencement of disciplinary proceedings against her in the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), Abuja.
It said, “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 were 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,” the statement added.