Nigeria: Court Proceedings Unfold in Alleged Sexual Harassment Case Against Suspended UniCal Law Faculty Dean

Nigeria: Court Proceedings Unfold in Alleged Sexual Harassment Case Against Suspended UniCal Law Faculty Dean

By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria

In a recent development, the Federal High Court in Abuja has taken a significant step in the case of alleged sexual harassment involving Prof. Cyril Ndifon, the suspended Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Calabar (UniCal). The court, presided over by Justice James Omotosho, ordered the remand of Prof. Ndifon in Kuje prison following charges brought by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

Prof. Ndifon, facing a four-count charge, pleaded not guilty to the accusations. The charges, filed on October 30, 2023, include allegations of soliciting explicit content from female students and using his position for personal gratification. The charges encompass actions between June and September 2023.

The first count accuses Prof. Ndifon of soliciting nude photographs and videos from a second-year diploma student through Whatsapp chats, violating Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Act, 2000. The second count alleges corrupt solicitation of explicit content from a 400-level female student, intending to manipulate her project supervisor assignment, contravening Section 8(1)(a) (il) of the agency’s Act.

Furthermore, the third count involves a corrupt request to see photographs of a 16-year-old prospective post-UTME female student, allegedly as an inducement for admission into the Faculty of Law, contrary to Section 18(d) of the Act. The fourth count accuses him of causing a female student to send explicit content through WhatsApp, a violation of Section 24 of the Cybercrime (Prohibition & Prevention) Act, 2015.

Notably, these alleged actions occurred while Prof. Ndifon held a public office responsible for certifying students’ fitness for learning and character, a prerequisite for a Bachelor’s degree in Law and admission into the Nigeria Law School.

During the court proceedings, Ndifon’s counsel, Okon Efut, SAN, presented a bail application on January 3, emphasizing health grounds. Ndifon, citing a scheduled eye surgery for Glaucoma on January 11, expressed concern about his health.

In response, ICPC lawyer Osuobeni Akponimisingha opposed the bail application, questioning the delay in Ndifon’s surgery since being granted bail on October 27, 2023.

Justice Omotosho, expressing skepticism, ordered Ndifon’s remand in Kuje Correctional Centre and scheduled a hearing for the bail application on January 10.

The case unfolds against a backdrop of growing concerns about misconduct in academic institutions, highlighting the need for a thorough and impartial legal process.

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