The suspended Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Calabar, UNICAL Prof. Cyril Ndifon, has denied allegations against him, noting that he is blameless.
Prof. Ndifon was accused of sexually harassing his female students, which led to protests organized by the year one students of the faculty.
Ndifon who broke his silence weeks after he was accused of sexually molesting his faculty students, gave reasons he was suspended.
In a statement he personally signed and sent to Vanguard on Monday, Prof Ndifon noted that some of his colleagues were angry over his position, noting that they are doing everything possible to remove him.
“The conspiracy to remove me not only as Dean of the Faculty of law, but also as an academic staff of the University is predicated and informed by the following reasons: “These are grievances by some academic staff in the Faculty of Law who are over-ambitious to become the Dean by hook or crook but unable to win any elections for that purpose, those who were asked to return the Faculty’s vehicles in their custody as well as those who complained that they were not being carried along”, part of the statement read.
Prof. Ndifon argued that all the allegations leveled against him were false, noting that he is blameless.
“My name, family and community have been dragged through the mud. This I must clear. I have already taken some steps to clear my name and integrity at the appropriate quarters. I state very categorically that I am blameless. I am proud of what I have achieved and will not allow my hard earned name to be rubbished”, he said.
Arguing that the protests by year one female students were stage-managed, Prof Ndifon said: “This was organized or allowed by the Vice Chancellor in cahoots with her kinsman, the LAWSAN President. This made it easy for them ( the protesters) to have access to the Vice Chancellor’s block, an impossible task for any protesters in the regime of Prof. Florence Obi. Among the protesters was the Vice Chancellor’s niece, who lives in the same house with her.
“The entire episode (a 5 minutes show) was to embarrass my person and justify her subsequent actions of removing me from office and duties. It is curious that rather than the Vice Chancellor, the Deputy Vice Chancellor and some of my colleagues being surprised by the demonstration they were seen smiling and recording (videoing) the incident.
“The protesters were cajoled into the action by the LAWSAN President (who himself has admitted and apologized that the intention and purpose of the protest was not made known to the protesters).
“There have been many denials from students that this is not a LAWSAN protest but a lone wolf act of the now suspended LAWSAN President. Many students have confessed that they were not aware of the ‘other purpose’ outside Law Journal and that they were handed the placards which had other inscriptions by the President at the V.C.’s block as they alighted from the bus that conveyed them.
“The placards were written by the same person the sole organizer of the protest) as we can see from the inscription which has the same handwriting. What has the University done to this boy who lied and misled many? Nothing has been done; instead the LAWSAN “President” is being protected. One may wish to ask: Why was the complaint of law journal not brought to me first. What happened to DUE PROCESS?”
On the issue of suspension and sexual allegations Ndifon said: “I was suspended immediately the authorities received my reply. This decision was clearly rash, hurried and vindictive. The entire process leading to my suspension took only three days-from query, reply and suspension. This is a record in the University of Calabar on matters pertaining to staff discipline. What is more worrisome about the suspension order is its scope. For instance by the suspension letter I am to “stay away from the University premises, except while responding to invitation from the Panel…” This is strange, unknown and vires her powers.
“This is a form of punishment as if I am a criminal and violates my right and freedom of movement. I am a Nigerian, this apart, my wife and wards are working and schooling/boarding in the University. This affects my family life and access to my family members and my freedom of movement. I am still a staff of the University and I have worked for the most part of my adult life in the University and rose to the rank of Professor; indeed, the Vice Chancellor’s desire for my pound of flesh speaks volumes. It shows someone that is bent on destroying all there is of me –my name, my family, community and state as well as my marriage. This abuse of power leaves much to be desired.”
The issue of sexual harassment
“May I state that as at this moment I am not aware of any complaints of sexual harassment outside the query which referenced the protest by year one law students and the placards. I have also not been informed of any such complaints of sexual harassment either by the Vice Chancellor or any other person. So I am left with this “sole allegation” based on placards by the protesters organized by the VC, some lecturers and LAWSAN President.
“In fact, in the various presentations at the meeting of 14th August 2023, I was never confronted with any documents or asked any questions respecting the issue, not even by the three students’ representatives who came to address us. Unfortunately, the students’ representative spent their time abusing lecturers and telling us that the law lecturers were incompetent to teach them. When I protested at this insult, I was told by the VC that the students were not addressing me but her and that there was nothing wrong with what they said.
“I was shocked. It was on that day I wept for the Faculty of Law that I have worked so hard to build and move them from the old building to their permanent site- the new edifice (Senator Victor Ndoma Egba (SAN) Law Complex). However, from information reaching me, the Vice Chancellor has now embarked on the task of shopping for “victims”. She now visits the faculty almost every day begging students, alumni inclusive, to accuse me with a promise to do for them “anything” and “everything” including providing confidentiality and anonymity if they can just implicate me. This is a simple case of let’s give a dog a bad name in order to hang it. Simply put, if there are no hard facts and evidence, make do with perception. Make the allegation and damn the consequences and people will run with it. This explains the media rounds the Vice Chancellor has been embarking on.”