UNICAL: Summary of Proceedings in Prof Ndifon’s Sexual Harassment Probe
In the unending revelations emerging from the University of Calabar, where the embattled Dean of Faculty of Law is standing investigation, BarristerNG has obtained the day to day testimonies and activities surrounding the sexual harassment probe of Prof. Ndifon.
Below is the report of proceedings for the 5th day of September, 2023
Lawsan President Obi Benedict Confirmed that all his claims against the Suspended Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Cyril Osim Ndifon are true. He further affirmed that he led the protest “We met as and agreed to protest, nobody was cajoled or forced to protest. If the Dean alleges that students were cajoled or forced, let him come out and prove it.”
He said a student by name, Victor Bissong, who earlier did a disclaimer against the protest by the law students, has withdrawn the apology saying he was under threat by the Suspended Dean to write the disclaimer. He said LLB 2A and B students paid N500 each to get Matriculation number. He also said the Suspended Dean collected monies from students for Law Journals that were never distributed to law students in the faculty.
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2. Tabor Patricia, Speaker of Lawsan parliament UNICAL, alleged that students from the faculty were forced to pay various levies to the faculty leadership under the suspended Dean Professor Cyril Osim Ndifon for 3 years; journals were not given, neither does the money refunded to law students.
3. Victim A also testified against the Suspended Dean Professor Cyril Osim Ndifon. She also testified that the Defendant had harassed her sexually at his office in UNICAL.
4. Victim B, a 300 level law student Testified that the Defendant, Cyril Osim Ndifon harassed her also sexually in his office twice after voluntarily offering to help them get higher grades.
5. Victim C, a 400 level student testified that students from the faculty of law were defrauded via the payment of illegal dues like N500 for Lawsan Students Union Dues, N1000 for matriculation numbers and for Fee Clearance to the faculty leadership under the watch of the suspended Dean, Prof. Cyril Osim Ndifon.
6. Victim D testified also that, he paid N500 for matriculation numbers.
7. Victim E testified that, she is a victim of illegal levies like N2,00, for clearance, N1,700 for Law Journal which she has paid on three occasions (3 years) for the faculty law journal without being given the said journal.
8. Victim F, a student of the faculty also testified that, she and her friend were enticed to give their registration numbers and names with a promise to be awarded higher grades, by the suspended Dean of faculty.
9. Barr. Mrs. Antonia Kalu (female) based in Canada formerly (Ukra Umukoro Anthonia) admitted into the Faculty of Law University of Calabar in 2001, was supposed to graduate in 2006 but was delayed by the suspended Dean, Prof. Cyril Osim Ndifon. She said she was made to spend two extra years in school before graduating.
10 Another victim, testified that the suspended Dean, Prof. Cyril Osim attempted to force her into Oral Sex in his office and also several other sexual attempts but she was fortunate to escape.
11. Barr. Jama Owubuariri graduated from UNICAL in 2006. He said the suspended Dean of faculty, Prof. Cyril Osim Ndifon robbed him of his scores during his undergraduate days in 2002 at the University of Calabar.
Day 2, THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 7, 2023.
The panel continued with a focus on the Academic and non-academic Staff in the faculty of law. From the facts obtained from the interrogations hereunder in the UNICAL panel of Investigation, some Staff of the faculty of law and its management are seen to be complicit in this whole issue. However, those interrogated include the following:
1. Prof. Mike Okorm, Former Dean of the Faculty of Law Affirmed the allegations against the former or Suspended Dean of the Faculty of law. He affirmed the allegations against the faculty about students’ payment for the faculty law journal. He said that there have been several complaints from the survivors.
2. Another Victim, aged 23, a female student, is a prime witness against professor Cyril Osim Ndifon, she testified that she was molested, threatened, raped, forced into oral sex, and cheated by the Defendant, Cyril Osim Ndifon, inside the defendants’s office.
3. Dr. Rose Ugbe, Acting Dean of the faculty of law, Testified that the suspended Dean ran the faculty based on loyalty… “If you are not his loyalist, he will have nothing to do with you.” The acting Dean also said, 148 Law students were transmitted into the law school without due process, under the leadership of Prof. Cyril Osim Ndifon.
4. Prof. Dada, a member of the University Senate Business Committee, a former Dean, and a senior member of the academic Staff in the faculty of law. He said he has noted over time several complaints and anomalies in the faculty of law including harassment. Prof. Dada is indifferent due to according to him “threats by some persons in the institution, and false accusations”. He said people threatened to “deal with him”, so he decided to mind his business and his job, he told the panel that he “refused to complain about any issues in the faculty”, due to these issues despite several complaints.
5. Prof. Ibanga is a professor who has been with the faculty for 33 years. He is the Chairman of the committee set up by the school to enquire into the mobilization of students into the Law school. He is indifferent. He said some students sent by the faculty management were qualified and they did so without due process. He said Staff had been complaining of poor handling of results in the faculty by the management severally. He said his indifference is due to the attitude of staff members in the faculty.
6. Dr. Mike Otu, is a senior staff and former Head of department in law faculty. He admitted to complaints from staff and students in the faculty under the leadership of the suspected dean. He said he had warned the faculty members and management over the complaints but, there weren’t any solutions. He said most of the indifferent staff members are guilty of allegations made against the faculty and the management.
7. Associate Professor Edem Essien, Chairman of the Post Graduate Committee in the faculty. He explained that the Committee’s account was kept from the committee and was held by the suspended dean Professor Osim Ndifon, at the expense of the Post Graduate Committee. He said that the staff had been quarreling over certain issues or abnormalities in the faculty of law.
8. Barrister Amarachi is a lecturer in the faculty of law. She testified that she too is a victim of attempted oral sex, virginal sex, and general sexual harassment and assault from the suspended Dean of that faculty, Professor Cyril Osim Ndifon. She affirmed that the defendant is guilty of the allegations.
9. Mr. Robert Omang, is the the former faculty officer, who served during the administration of the Suspended Dean Professor Cyril Osim Ndifon. He called that the Dean permitted him to collect unapproved monies from students (numbering over 1,000 students) and that the faculty has not distributed any journals to the students for 3 years and the students have paid (N1,700) each.
10. Ann Agi, a lecturer in the faculty testified that Prof. Cyril Osim Ndifon denied her an opportunity to defend her Post Graduate Program after spending 5 years. She also alleged intimidation by the defendant on her and her colleagues.
11. Dr Alex Abang Ebu, a Head of department in the faculty. He said the dean is guilty of abuse of office; he said he divided the faculty, between junior and senior lecturers. He said the suspended dean did not recognize Heads of Department as HODs had no schedule or offices.
12. Barrister Linda Iheanacho, is a lecturer in the department. She said she was asked by the Suspended Dean to co-supervise students with him, but she declined, as against the various allegations that she made. She said she is not a member of any of the factions in the faculty. She accused female students of playing around with lecturers in the faculty of law; however, she said she was warned by some female students to mind her business in an attempt to caution them against going too close to male lecturers.
13. Dr Lawrence Edu, is a lecturer in the faculty of law. He is one of those who were close to the suspended Dean. He said the dean did not seek his consent before adding him as an assistant editor to the faculty Law Journal. He said he hasn’t received any complaints from students.
14. Ncha Ogbeche, a lecturer in the faculty. Denied allegations of harassing any student in the faculty of law. Ncha who broke into tears said he is wrongly accused. He admitted that two students wrote exams in his office but that it wasn’t a hidden affair, as he shares an office with other colleague lecturers, who were present during the exams.
15. Mr Njong Cleverty. He introduced himself as a tutorial lecturer in the faculty. He alleged that he is uncomfortable the way female students visit male lecturers after 4pm on working days. He spoke in dismissal of his alleged involvement in the numerous allegations against him by students and some members of staff.
16. Comfort Jumbo, she is a recent graduate from the faculty but she can’t proceed to law school due to refusal of the management of the faculty of law to upload her results, after her refusal to meet with Prof. Cyril Ndifon at an undisclosed Hotel in Calabar by 4 o’clock during the period .
The panel closed sitting at about 6:55 pm on Thursday. The chairman Professor Dorathy Oluwagbemi Jacob, thanked the members and observers for their patience and efforts. She said the Panel will continue Tuesday September 12, 2023; on the said date, the suspended dean (defendant) shall appear before the panel to defend all the allegations leveled against him, after which the panel will analyze it’s findings and make recommendations in accordance with relevant law.
However on September 12th, the Embattled Professor failed to attend the Panel necessitating a fresh notice to be served on him.
To be continued…