UNICAL Dean Challenges Sexual Harassment Charges, Claims Consensual Relationship

Cyril Ndifon, the temporarily removed Dean of the Law Faculty at the University of Calabar, has publicly stated his involvement in a mutually agreed relationship with a former diploma student known only as TKJ, to comply with a judicial directive aimed at safeguarding her identity. This comes amid allegations against him of sexual misconduct.

UNICAL Dean Challenges Sexual Harassment Charges, Claims Consensual Relationship
Cyril Ndifon

Currently, Ndifon faces a revised legal charge comprising four allegations of sexual harassment and seeking sexual favors, brought forth by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

The case also implicates Ndifon’s attorney, Sunny Anyanwu, accused of intimidating TKJ and advising her against responding to the ICPC’s summons.

During her court appearance as the principal witness for the ICPC, TKJ accused Ndifon of coercing her into sexual acts under the pretense of ensuring her admission into the university’s LLB program.

Nonetheless, in a legal argument presented by Ndifon’s counsel, Joe Agi (SAN), which was reviewed by our team, Ndifon argues for his exoneration, citing message exchanges that he believes indicate a voluntary connection between them.

In these messages, Ndifon highlights their mutual expressions of love, care, and concern for one another’s well-being.

He argued, “In terms of the alleged offence’s components—inducing fear, threats, or concern for safety—none are present in the first count. Moreover, no testimony was presented that TKJ or Professor Ndifon experienced fear, concern for safety, or were blackmailed, especially as per Exhibit ‘H’. The messages clearly demonstrate a consensual relationship, where both parties shared feelings of love, affection, and concern for each other’s safety, particularly that of the first defendant.”

Furthermore, Ndifon refutes any intimidation or coercion, indicating the text exchanges reflect merely the emotional bond between two individuals, absent of any fear or duress.

Ndifon also highlighted a breach of his rights by the ICPC, which, according to him, unlawfully seized his mobile phones without judicial authorization, a move he claims violates the Cyber Crime Act and infringes on his constitutional rights to privacy.

He described the commission’s actions as overzealous and lacking in legality, especially after discovering sensitive content on his phone, which led them to investigate potential cyberstalking offences, characterizing their approach as overly aggressive and indiscriminate.

Moreover, Ndifon challenges the court’s authority over the case, pointing out during cross-examination that a prosecution witness, Lucy Chima, acknowledged receiving multiple complaints but did not mention TKJ as a complainant, noting TKJ’s emergence only after the charges were revised.

He also argues that certain charges, including those related to the exchange of explicit videos, fall outside the court’s jurisdiction as defined by specific sections of the Corrupt Practice and Other Related Offences Act, 2020.

“Regarding the original charge’s Count 4, under the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015, the evidence and initiation process reviewed by this court suggest a lack of proper legal procedure, hence questioning the court’s jurisdiction,” Ndifon further elaborated.

The court is scheduled to consider the arguments regarding the no-case submission on February 27, 2024.

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