Evidence revealed suspended UNICAL dean demanded nude photos of student – Court

A FEDERAL High Court, Abuja, has stated that evidence presented by the prosecution revealed that the suspended dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Calabar (UNICAL), Cyril Ndifon, demanded the nude photos of the second prosecution witness (Name withheld).

The court said there was a need for Ndifon, a professor, to explain his intent and purpose for such a request.

The judge, James Omotosho, overruled the no-case submission made by Ndifon and his lawyer, Sunny Anyanwu, in the sexual harassment case instituted against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).


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The ICPC is prosecuting Ndifon and Anyanwu over alleged sexual misconduct and attempt to perverse the cause of justice contrary to Sections 8, 18 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and Section 182 of the Penal Code Cap. 532 Laws of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, 2006.

Before the ruling on the no-case submission, the second defendant, Anyanwu, had informed the court of the absence of his counsel and that of the first defendant, Joe Agi, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), just as he prayed for an adjournment.

However, Omotosho held that the ruling on the no-case submission would be determined first before the prayer for an adjournment would be heard.

While reading his ruling on the court’s jurisdiction to hear the case, the judge, Omotosho, held that the Federal High Court has the requisite jurisdiction to entertain matters based on the Corrupt Practices Act 2000.

He cited the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Aweto Vs. FRN (2018) which stated that the powers of the Federal High Court under Section 251 of the 1999 Constitution vested it with exclusive jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters involving federal agencies.

He held that the ICPC is a federal agency and that the first defendant (Cyril Ndifon) is a public officer in a national institution. Hence, the Federal High Court has proper jurisdiction to hear the case.

“These and other pieces of evidence need the defendants to explain their side of the story,” the judge held.

Omotosho, however, noted that “holding that a prima facie case has been established does not necessarily imply that the court finds the defendants guilty of the charge. The defendants are still presumed innocent until proven guilty, and the prosecution must prove the charge beyond reasonable doubt”.

Omotosho told the defendants to enter their defence as the no-case submission was overruled. 

He adjourned the case to March 12, 2024, for the defendants to enter defence after the bail granted to the first defendant was varied.

In October 2023, Ndifon was arrested by the State Security Service (SSS) at the request of the ICPC after he failed to honour invitations following allegations of sexual assault levelled against him.

He was accused of sexual harassment during a protest by female Law students of UNICAL on August 15, 2023.






     

     

    The students carried placards that read, “Law students are not Bonanza, Prof. Ndifon should stop grabbing us. The Faculty of Law is not a brothel,” “Ndifon must go for our sanity,” among other inscriptions.

    He was suspended by the university two days later, and a panel was set up to investigate the allegations.

    Although Ndifon denied the allegations and described them as lies, it was the second time he was suspended for similar reasons. The first time was in 2015, when a final-year student accused him of raping her in his office.

    He was remanded in prison in January 2024, along with Anyanwu, who called and threatened the star witness in the case.

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