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Sexual Harassment: UNICAL Suspends Law Professor

by Daudu John

Sexual Harassment: UNICAL Suspends Law Professor

The Dean, Faculty of Law of the University of Calabar (UNICAL), Prof. Cyril Ndifon, has been suspended by the institution’s management for alleged violation of the provisions of the extant laws and policies of the institution.

Ndifon’s suspension takes effect from Thursday, August 17, 2023, according to a letter by the University Registrar, Mr. Gabriel Egbe.

The suspension came days after some law students protested alleged sexual harassment against the dean.

The letter reads this: “Please refer to our letter Ref UC/REG/DISC.45A dated August 14, 2023 on your alleged violation of the provisions of the extant laws and policies of the University and your response to the said letter which was dated 16th August, 2023.

“The Vice-Chancellor has gone through your written representations and is not satisfied with your explanations. She has therefore directed that you should be relieved of your position as Dean, Faculty of Law and placed on suspension while the matter is referred to a panel that will be set-up to investigate these allegations.

“The relief of position as Dean, Faculty of Law and suspension from official duties takes effect from August 17, 2023. You are to hand over all university property in your possession including all official responsibilities presently handled by you to the Sub-Dean of the Faculty before vacating office.

“You are to stay away from the university premises except while responding to an invitation from the panel investigating these allegations.”

The Law students, in a viral video, had accused Ndifon of sexually assaulting and harassing them.

The female law students had, on Monday, August 14, 2023, stormed the office of the UNICAL Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Florence Obi, with claims of alleged sexual harassment by the Dean as well as extortion by their lecturers.

The students were armed with placards with inscriptions such as “We are tired of sucking d..ks”, “Ndifon Must Go For Our Sanity”, “We Are Tired of Buying Law Journals”, “We Are Tired of Lecturers Not Attending Classes”, and “Law Girls Are Not Your Bonanza, Prof Ndifon Should stop grabbing us

The female students, therefore, called on the management of the university to address their concerns.

But the Dean debunked the allegations.

Ndifon described the protest as the handiwork of his colleague whom he defeated in the faculty election.

His words: “Since I defeated some persons in an election that was keenly contested, to emerge as Dean of the faculty, it hasn’t been easy. I had skipped several booby traps.

These allegations are baselessly masterminded by my detractor, who had vowed to ensure that my image is dragged to the mud just because I won the faculty elections twice.

“If you look at the placards you will discover that the placards have one person’s handwriting. Again how come the protesters know that we were holding a meeting with the Vice Chancellor if it is not the handiwork of an insider.

“We were supposed to hold a meeting with the Vice Chancellor to enable us iron out important issues troubling us in the faculty. While the meeting was on-going, we were told that some students were outside with placards, protesting against me, demanding that I should be unseated.

From what I am told, LAWSAN President, Benedict Otu, cajoled some students that they were to go for a meeting with the Vice Chancellor at her office, only to dish out placards bearing false representations about the Dean, and asked his colleagues to chant slogans that berated my personality.
“This won’t work.

Colleagues of mine who are bent on tarnishing my reputation just to destroy me. The question is: where are the victims of sexual harassment? Can someone harass girls without the ladies coming out to raise the alarm that they were sexually harassed?
“For Christ sake, I don’t teach Year 2 B or Year one students, so I don’t know why they have chosen to drag my name to the mud. This was why I said earlier that the allegations were lies, cooked from the pit of hell, just to destroy a reputation that I had spent decades building.”

It would be recalled that Ndifon was suspended by the institution in 2016 after a 20-year-old 400-level student (name withheld) accused him of sexually assaulting her.

His suspension was to last until he was exonerated from all allegations.

Unsatisfied by the suspension, Ndifon sued UNICAL claiming the university had no power to suspend him beyond the statutory three months according to the University of Calabar Act, LFN, 2004.

The suit was later dismissed by Justice Eunice Agbakoba.


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