Sexual assault: UniCal to ensure Law faculty principal officers are women – VC

THE vice-chancellor (VC) of the University of Calabar (UniCal), Florence Obi, said that the management of the School has guaranteed that all the principal officers at the faculty are women.

This followed the sexual harassment allegations against the suspended dean of the faculty of law at the university, Cyril Ndifon. 

Obi disclosed this on Channels Television’s Sunrise breakfast programme on Saturday, August 26.

According to her, the institution’s administration had taken steps to reduce sexual harassment involving academics and students.

The vice chancellor spoke on the situation on Saturday morning and promised that the panel to look into it would treat it fairly.

“We have put up measures to see that, going forward, such occurrences are curtailed.

“There is a result vetting committee. We have also made a clean sweep in the faculty where we have the acting Dean, for now, a woman; the sub-dean, a woman; the faculty officer, a woman; we want to see that the students are protected.”

“You can’t completely eradicate sexual harassment in schools because it happens everywhere, every country. It does happen, but the impunity, the serial abuse, the way and manner in which this is done, is where it becomes a problem,” Obi said on the programme.

She said the University has put up many measures to ensure nobody in the Faculty of Law will hold students to ransom and make any female student vulnerable.

She added that she has put about seven committees in place.

“There is a committee to assign students to supervisors because there are accusations that the suspended dean took all female students to supervise, and that made them vulnerable to his advances. Now, there is a committee to handle that.

“There is a committee to look at mobilisation to law school which students alleged in their protest letter to us that they (staff) use that as intimidation, as a way to getting some of them to succumb, that if they don’t accept, that they may not be mobilised to law school. We have set up a committee to do that,’ she added.

Obi also assured that the panel to probe sexual misconduct allegations against Ndifon would do justice on the indictments.

Recently, female law students at the faculty protested against Ndifon and accused him of sexual harassment.

The ICIR reported that UniCal replaced Ndifon and set up a panel to investigate allegations against him.

 The school later approved the appointment of Rose Ugbe as acting dean of the Law Faculty.

President of UniCal Law Students Association (LWASA) Benedict Otu confirmed this to The ICIR on Wednesday, August 23.

The institution also set up a seven-member panel to investigate allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by some female students of the faculty.

    The panel is headed by a professor of philosophy, Dorothy Oluwagbemi-Jacob. It is expected to conduct thorough investigations into at least six issues ranging from sexual harassment to results manipulation by Ndifon and make appropriate recommendations to the management.

    The university suspended Ndifon on August 17 after female Law students protested, alleging that he had subjected them to sexual harassment and assault.

    He reacted to the allegations, describing them as lies and the handiwork of his enemies following his emergence as dean of faculty.

    However, Ndifon had been suspended for similar reasons in 2015 after a final-year student accused him of raping her in his office.

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