The suspended Dean of Law Faculty, University of Calabar (UNICAL), Prof. Cyril Ndifon, has filed a lawsuit against the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Florence Obi, for character defamation.
Ndifon is suing Obi and three other defendants over what he described as defamation and dragging his image to the mud.
In the suit before a National Industrial Court sitting in Calabar, other defendants in the matter include the institution’s registrar, Gabriel Egbe, and the chairman of the investigative panel, Prof. Dorathy Oluwagbemi-Jacob.
In an affidavit, Ndifon accused the VC of colluding with the LAWSAN President, Obi Benedict Otu and one of the VC’s nieces, one Destiny Omokiti, to stage-manage a protest against him to pull him down.
“Shortly after the said protest, Mr. Otu issued a statement where he revealed that he deliberately hid his intention and real purpose of the protest from innocent students, who were freshers and upon their concealment of purpose, tendered a public apology, that excerpt went viral on social media,” a part of the affidavit read.
“My right and freedom of movement to the University of Càlabar premises has been restricted and curtailed by order of the Vice Chancellor. I am gravely prejudiced on account thereof.
“To remove me from office as Dean of Law Faculty without any prior vote taken at a meeting of faculty of law board for purpose, constitutes a departure from the prescriptions of the University of Calabar Act.”
In an originating summons from the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Calabar Judicial Division Holden has asked the defendants to make an appearance, within eight days after service of the summon.
“If the defendants do not enter appearance within the time and at the place, such order will be made and proceedings taken as the judge may think just and expedient”. The summons maintained.
Reacting to the suit, the university’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Effiong Eyo, said the institution only set up a panel to investigate allegations against the embattled Dean of Law Faculty.
“No one has found him guilty, what we did was to investigate the alleged misconduct but since he felt court was the only option, we will be there for the hearing,” the PRO affirmed.
Recall that on August 14, videos of the students of the faculty of Law accusing Ndifon of sexually assaulting and harassing female students surfaced on social media.
The students were seen storming the office of the school’s Vice-Chancellor, bearing placards with inscriptions such as, “Ndifon must go for our sanity”, “We are tired of buying law journals”, “We are tired of lecturers not attending classes”, and “Law girls are not your bonanza; Prof. Ndifon should stop grabbing us,” among other inscriptions.
On August 16, the authorities of the institution began an investigation into the allegations against Ndifon.
Ndifon’s suspension is pending an investigation into the allegations and is effective from August 17, 2023.
He has since been directed to transfer all the varsity’s property in his possession, along with his official responsibilities, before vacating his office. He was also instructed to stay away from the school premises, except when responding to an invitation from the panel overseeing the investigation.
Since the new broke, NGOs, including the Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Women’s Voice and Leadership (WVL)and , Gender and Development Action (GADA), have condemned sexual harrastment against women and female student in tertiary institutions in the country.
Don’t miss out on: Sexual Harassment: UNICAL Students Protests Against Dean
Women oriented initiatives across the country have pointed that the alleged sexual harassment, which is the second so far reported Ndifon, is not only appalling but unacceptable from a senior academic staff member with over 30 years of service in the academia.