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Prof Ndifon Argues UNICAL Panel Lacks Authority to Investigate Alleged Sexual Harassment Case

Prof Ndifon Argues UNICAL Panel Lacks Authority to Investigate Alleged Sexual Harassment Case
Prof Ndifon Argues UNICAL Panel Lacks Authority to Investigate Alleged Sexual Harassment Case

The suspended Dean of the Law Faculty at the University of Calabar (UNICAL), Prof Cyril Ndifon, has voiced his concerns regarding the panel established by the university authorities to investigate allegations of sexual harassment against female students.

Prof Ndifon contends that the panel lacks the legal authority and competence to carry out its assigned tasks. He believes that participating in the panel’s proceedings would be prejudicial, as the matter is already before the court.

In an interview with journalists, Prof. Ndifon expressed his distress, citing psychological pain, trauma, and anguish due to the allegations made against him. He emphasised that his decision to take legal action against the Vice Chancellor of UNICAL, Prof. Florence Obi, was based on character defamation.

Prof. Ndifon also expressed displeasure over what he described as attempts to tarnish his image, asserting that he had done nothing wrong. He lamented that his right and freedom of movement to the University of Calabar premises had been restricted by the Vice Chancellor’s order.

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The matter before the Industrial Court is Suit No: NICN/CA/ 42/ 2023 between Prof. Cyril Ndifon (claimant) and the Vice Chancellor, University of Calabar, and three others as defendants.

In addition, Prof. Ndifon accused the VC of colluding with the President of the Law Students Association (LAWSAN) at UNICAL, Mr. Obi Benedict Otu, and others to stage-manage a protest against him in an attempt to discredit him.

The panel tasked with investigating Prof. Ndifon’s case comprises various entities, including the Public Complaints Commission, the Nigeria Police Gender Unit (D12), Federation of Women Lawyers, University of Calabar Alumni (National), ‘Malabor’ High Court, and the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA – National). Prof. Dorothy Oluwagbemi-Jacobs serves as the Chairman of the Panel.

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The panel’s terms of reference include investigating sexual harassment allegations against the suspended dean, examining examination irregularities in the Faculty of Law, investigating abuse of office, and violations of university laws by Prof. Ndifon, among other things.

The University Registrar, Gabriel Egbe, expects the panel to conduct a thorough, fair, and objective investigation and make appropriate recommendations to the university management within two weeks.

The University’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Effiong Eyo, clarified that the institution has not found Prof. Ndifon guilty but has conducted an investigation into the alleged misconduct. Since Prof. Ndifon has opted for legal action, the university will participate in the court hearing.

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