From Ron Jacob, Jos
A minor, and former student of Hillcrest School, Jos, has dragged the school authority before a Jos Federal High Court, demanding N100 million as damages over deliberate cancellation of his admission.
The minor, who sued the school through his friend and guardian, Mr Steve Gukas, accused the school management for breaching his fundamental human right by denying him the opportunity to continue his studies in that school.
Joined in the suit are the Registered Trustees of Hillcrest School, Jos and Mrs Anne Lucasse, the Principal, as 1st and 2nd respondents respectively.
When the case came up on Wednesday before Justice Musa Kurya, the presiding judge, the minor, through his counsel, Mr Silas Onu, in an Originating Motion, prayed the court to described the school management’s action as “contrary and in violation of the African Charter on the right and welfare of the child.’’
Onu told the court that Master Gukas was rightly admitted into the school but that on Sept. 10, 2017, the management blatantly and illegally rescinded his admission simply because he was said to be “nut allergic’’ which it (school) claimed it could not manage or tolerate.
Onu argued that the health challenge of the plaintiff was well-known to the school management following a medical report from Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) at their disposal.
“Because of the physical, mental torture the minor has suffered as a result of the unlawful, illegal, immoral, discriminating and unjustifiable rescinding of his admission, we are demanding for the sum of N100 million, being general and exemplary damages.
“My Lord, we are urging the court to give a mandatory injunction compelling the respondents jointly or severally to immediately pay the said amount (N100 million) to my client, ‘’ he solicited.
But Prof. Clement Dakas (SAN), counsel to Hillcrest, objected the claims of the minor, as he challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain such a matter.
Dakas argued that Hillcrest School was not a federal government institution so it could not be sued in a Federal High Court and therefore lacking in merit to be heard by that court.
“My Lord, I want to point to this honourable court that the application brought before it by the applicant is purely incompetent as Hillcrest School is not a federal institution to fall under the ambit of this honourable court.
“This court lacks the jurisdiction to hear such an application and I urge the court to dismiss it for lack of merit and with cost against the applicant,’’ Dakas pleaded.
In response to Dakas claim, Onu argued that the court has the jurisdiction to hear fundamental human right cases especially when it has to do with the African Charter and the right and welfare of a child.
Justice Kurya, after listening to the arguments of the two counsels, adjourned the case to September 28 for ruling on the issue of jurisdiction.