The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Florence Obi, a professor, has submitted the report of the committee that looked into the allegations of sexual harassment against the former Dean, Faculty of Law of the university, Cyril Ndifo, a professor, to the Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman.
Ms Obi said the university followed all due processes in handling the matter, including suspending the suspect, Mr Ndifo, and issuing him with appropriate queries and setting up a disciplinary committee to hear the matter.
To ensure transparency in the work of the committee, the vice chancellor noted that observers were drawn from the Public Complaint Commission, Nigerian Bar Association, Federation of Female Lawyers, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Chief Judge of the Student’s Union High Court as well as seven civil society organisations. The spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, Ben Goong, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.
Ministry To Establish Sexual Offences Unit – Minister
Receiving the report on Thursday, Mr Mamman vowed to ensure that perpetrators of the act in Nigerian universities are adequately punished. The minister disclosed that sexual offences units will be established in the Ministry and all institutions of higher learning to deal with the menace. He described sexual harassment as a serious criminal offence that must be dealt with whenever it occurs. He added that the education ministry will do everything possible to “tame the ugly tide in our institutions of higher learning”.
“Education Minister Professor Tahir Mamman has warned members of the academia and the university community over matters of sexual harassment on campuses, maintaining that the Federal Ministry of Education will deal decisively with perpetrators of such acts,” the statement said. Mr Mamman maintained that the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is out to protect the vulnerable groups within the country’s educational system.
Sexual Allegations Against Mr Ndifo
Female students of the institution’s law faculty had on 14 August held a peaceful protest against Mr Ndifon, then the Dean of the faculty, accusing him of sexually harassing female students in the faculty. Mr Ndifon denied the allegation in an interview with this newspaper, claiming that the protest was sponsored by lecturers in the faculty who did not like his leadership style. The university suspended him, and the vice-chancellor, Ms Obi, told PREMIUM TIMES that the university management would investigate the allegations.
Mr Ndifon faced similar accusations in 2015 that led to his suspension when a 200-level student of the faculty accused him of rape.