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Jane Ottah Expelled By RSUST For Hearing Challenges Returns To School

The student who was expelled by the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, in 2015, for having “speech and hearing challenges” has been allowed to return to school.
Jane Ottah, 28, who dragged the university before a Rivers State High Court for expelling her over claims that she had disabilities, agreed to an out-of-court settlement with the University on Tuesday.
Ms. Ottah had demanded the university to pay her N20 million as damages in addition to providing the necessary support services and facilities to aid her learning. She also asked the court for a perpetual injunction restraining the university or their agents from discriminating against her in any way.
“I won the case, I’m going back to school,” Ms. Ottah informed PREMIUM TIMES in a Whatsapp message minutes after the court’s decision.
Rotimi Oguneso, the lawyer who took up the case after it was reported by PREMIUM TIMES, confirmed that the matter had been settled.
“We filed terms of settlement in court and same was adopted, the court recognized it as a settlement and it’s binding on all parties,” Mr. Oguneso, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said over the phone on Wednesday.
“So the university will take her back, she’s resuming in the next academic session.”
Blessing Didia, the school’s Vice Chancellor, also confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that they had agreed to settle out of court, but insisted that Ms. Ottah “was never dismissed ab initio”.
Benedict Ottah, the student’s father, said they agreed to the University’s plea to settle out of court because he wanted his daughter back in school
“We were in court on the 19th of February, the first sitting, their (university) lawyer pleaded for settling out of court,” Mr. Ottah told PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday.
“Then, on the 11th of April, Rotimi (Oguneso) and Femi Falana met them, they agreed on that settlement, not on monetary basis but on educational basis that my daughter shoul resume back to school this September.”
While expressing gratitude to PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Ottah said the school agreed to assist his daughter settle back in school, as well as carry forward the school fees paid and registrations done in 2014 to September this year.
“She will not be victimized again,” he said.
“The issue is, I didn’t go for monetary compensation, I just forgot about that, let my daughter resume her school.”
PREMIUM TIMES had, in November last year, reported how the University handed a letter of expulsion to Ms. Ottah after it claimed it had observed that she was “medically challenged and have hearing and speech difficulties.”
“Since the University does not have special communication facilities, the Vice-Chancellor has directed that you be de-registered on health grounds,” the school registrar’s letter to Ms. Ottah read.
“I am in the circumstance, directed to inform you that you have been de-registered on health grounds with immediate effect. You are therefore advised to hand over all University property(ies) in your possession to your Head of Department and thereafter leave the campus.”
The letter was dated 30th January, 2015.
The University’s action was widely condemned by lawyers and human rights activists who described it as “a crude treatment” for a person with disability.
Ms. Ottah, who was in her first year in the Department of Educational Foundation, was writing the semester’s examination when she received the letter.
She was admitted into the university in September 2014.
Before securing admission, Ms. Ottah had passed her West African Examination Council (WAEC) examination with three distinctions and five credits; scored 205 in the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) exam; and passed the university’s post-UME test.
Ms. Ottah described the out-of-court settlement with the university as “not bad”.
“Half bread is better than none.
“My education is very important to me, and I thank Jehovah Ebenezer, the tear wiper has done it for me.”

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