A panel set up to investigate allegations of sexual harassment and abuse of office against Cyril Ndifon, a former dean of the law faculty at the University of Calabar (UNICAL), has concluded its findings, confirming the serious charges against him.
Ndifon had been suspended and subsequently replaced by UNICAL in August following allegations of sexual harassment.
The accusations were first brought to light when Benedict Otu, the president of the Law Students Association of Nigeria (LAWSAN), led a protest demanding Ndifon’s removal.
In response to the public outcry, UNICAL initiated a thorough investigation into the allegations against the embattled professor.
Observers during the panel’s proceedings included Ann Awah of the International Federation of Female Lawyers, Philomina Modor of the police commission’s gender unit, Sam Eboh, a lawyer and UNICAL alumnus, and Emmanuella Ushiekpe, the chief judge of Malabo high court.
The investigation involved nine student victims who claimed to have experienced unsolicited sexual advances from Ndifon. One of the survivors, identified as survivor 1.1, alleged that Ndifon requested “a blow job” in his office and promised to assist her transfer to the Faculty of Law in exchange for sexual favors. Survivor 1.2, a 500-level student, stated that Ndifon attempted to forcibly kiss her when she inquired about her admission status.
Several colleague professors were also invited to testify, with one confirming that female students had complained to him about Ndifon’s behavior and his use of sexual advances to manipulate students for academic benefits.
The panel’s findings are damning, establishing that Cyril Ndifon exploited his official position to intimidate and coerce female students for sexual favors. It also found that he had hindered the timely graduation of female students by withholding their results, in addition to running the law faculty in a manner inconsistent with established standards and rules.
The panel has recommended that Ndifon be subjected to the statutory disciplinary committee of UNICAL, facing appropriate sanctions for both major and gross misconduct. It further suggested that he refund over N3 million obtained from law students for a journal he neither published nor distributed.
In response to these findings, the panel has recommended that the university establish a rule preventing lecturers from requesting students to meet them after official hours, addressing a key issue in preventing such harassment in the future.