A Lagos high court on Friday pronounced that the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has no legal powers to unilaterally cancel results of candidates for Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) without giving the accused candidates fair hearing.
The trial high court judge, Justice Yetunde Pinheiro, in a landmark judgment in a suit, has consequently voided the cancellation of the Senior School Certificate Examination result of a candidate, Emmanuel Gbenga Akeredolu by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).
The court said the cancellation of Gbenga’s tesults was illegal, unconstitutional,null and void.
It anchored its decision on the fact that the candidate was not afforded the opportunity of defending the allegation of cheating preferred against him either orally or in writing.
The court has also awarded a N10 million damages against WAEC in favour of the cabfidate.
The claimant sued through his next friend (father), Engineer John Akeredolu because he is a minor.
Both parties had addressed the court on the legality of the Council’s decision to unilaterally cancel canfidstes’ results based on allegation of cheating without affording the victims to defend themselves.
Delivering judgment in the case, Justice Pinheiro said that the council did not produce sufficient proof that the claimant indulged in any malpractice during the examination to warrant the cancellation of his result.
She also said that the “failure of the Defendant (WAEC) to first afford the Claimant an opportunity to defend himself either orally or in writing or howsoever in respect of the allegation leveled against him amounts to a violation of his fundamental right to fair hearing enshrined in Section 36 (1) of the 1999 Constitution.”
The court said that WAEC’s action also subjected the claimant to “emotional trauma, embarrassment, humiliation,loss of self-esteem, hardship, inconvenience, disgrace, anguish and anxiety”; and caused him an academic set back as well as “the loss of a whole academic year” which cannot be quantified in monetary sum.
The verdict was however a judgment in personam, beneficial only to the litigant.
But the case may likely open a floodgate if litigation against institutions that conduct examinations in Nigeria.