The panel investigating the allegations against Cyril Ndifon, a former dean of the law faculty at the University of Calabar (UNICAL), has established a case of sexual harassment and abuse of office against him.
Ndifon was in the news in August after he was suspended and replaced by UNICAL over sexual harassment allegations.
Benedict Otu, the president of the Law Students Association of Nigeria (LAWSAN), had previously led some female students in a protest demanding the sack of Ndifon.
Following the public outrage that trailed the case, UNICAL management constituted a panel to investigate the allegation against the embattled professor.
Among those who observed the panel’s proceedings are Ann Awah of the International Federation of Female Lawyers and Philomina Modor of the police commission’s gender unit.
Sam Eboh, a lawyer and member of UNICAL’s alumni, and Emmanuella Ushiekpe, the chief judge of Malabo high court, also observed the proceedings.
One of Ndifon’s accusers identified as survivor 1.1, a 200-level student, said she met the professor while attempting to work her transfer from the Department of Conflict Studies to the Faculty of Law.
She claimed the suspended dean asked her to give him “a blow job” in his office and promised to help her get into the law faculty on the condition that she would be answerable to his sexual calls.
Survivor 1.2, a 500-level student, who said met Ndifon in November 2018 when she applied for a direct entry, alleged that he tried to forcefully kiss her when she went to inquire about her admission status.
The probe involved nine student victims who alleged unsolicited sexual advances from the suspended dean.
A number of colleague professors were also invited to testify, one of whom told the panel that female students came on several occasions to complain to him about “blow jobs,” “sucking penis” and “touched my breasts stuff”.
He claimed Ndifon had been using the “blow job” to sexually harass female students in return for grades and he had on occasions pleaded with the suspended dean to release withheld results of students who refused his advances.
Additionally, a female lecturer in the faculty also confirmed Ndifon’s behaviour towards the female students.
She told the panel that she once experienced such when she went to his office as she was a project supervisor.
The lecturer said she once intervened for one Theresa Oloko who failed Ndifon’s course for “refusing to do a blow job”.
The panel, in its findings, established that Cyril Ndifon was using his official position to both intimidate and bargain for sexual favours from female students in the law faculty.
It also established that the suspended dean had been involved in exploiting the students.
“Elaborately, he had been perpetrating cruelty against students by forestalling the graduation of especially some female students at the appropriate time by withholding and refusing to release their results,” the panel said.
“Abuse of office and high handedness were established given the fact that the dean was running the faculty of law like a personal estate against all standards and rules.”
The panel recommended that the suspended dean of law should face the statutory disciplinary committee of UNICAL for appropriate sanctions applicable to acts of both major and gross misconduct.
It also asked that Ndifon be made to refund over N3 million realized from the payments made by the law students for a journal he neither published nor gave to the students.
The panel said the university should make a rule to stop lecturers from asking students to come and see them after official hours.