He Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC) has filed a criminal charge against Cyril Ndifon, the suspended dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Calabar (ONLY).
The ICPC spokesperson, Azuka Ogugua, revealed this on Monday in a statement sent to Newslodge.
Mr Ndifon, a law professor, was suspended as dean of the faculty after some female students of the faculty held a protest rallyaccusing him of sexual harassment.
The professor, who has since denied the allegation, claimed that some of his colleagues, uncomfortable with his leadership style, manipulated students against him.
The criminal charge, according to the statement, was filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja following the commission’s conclusion of an investigation into the allegation that he sexually harassed his students.
Ogugua said in the statement that the ICPC was prosecuting the professor on four charges, including sexual harassment, official corruption and abuse of power.
The spokesperson said the alleged offenses are contrary to Sections 8, 18 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Act 2000.
One of the charges reads: “That you, Professor Cyril Osim Ndifon (M), between June and September 2023, in Calabar, within the jurisdiction of this honorable court, and while you were a public officer in charge of the certification of students as a fit in learning and character, as a prerequisite for obtaining a law degree and admission into the Nigerian Law School, he used his position and position as Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Calabar to gratify himself by soliciting nude photographs and videos of one Ms. ABC (not her real name), a second-year diploma student of the university, through WhatsApp chats on her phone number, 0803*****, and thereby committed a contrary crime and punishable under section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Act, 2000.”
Ndifon will be arraigned on a date to be set by the court, according to the statement.
On August 14, students at the Faculty of Law held a peaceful demonstration against the professor, whom they accused of sexual harassment, which led university authorities to suspend him.
The event sparked various reactions with many Nigerians calling for the speaker to be prosecuted.
Following public outrage, UNICAL authorities formed a panel to investigate the accusation against the embattled professor.
The panel, in its report released in early October, said Ndifon was using his official position to intimidate and negotiate sexual favors with law school students.
One of the students, who testified before the panel, narrated how the professor allegedly forced her to have oral sex with him in his campus office.
Consequently, on October 4, the ICPC arrested the professor in collaboration with State Security Service personnel after the suspended professor allegedly rejected several invitations.
READ ALSO: Sexual harassment: Why I contemplated leaving UNICAL – Student
Meanwhile, this is not the first time Ndifon has been accused of sexual harassment at UNICAL.
the teacher was previously suspended by the university authority in 2015 after being accused of raping a 20-year-old law student in his office, an accusation that he challenged in court.
His suspension was lifted about a year later, under unclear circumstances.