Women Affairs Minister Threatens To Jail UNICAL Students Over S3xual Harassment Allegation Against Prof. Ndifon

The Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy, has been caught on tape threatening to jail a female law student of the University of Calabar (UNICAL) who accused the suspended dean of the law faculty, Prof. Cyril Ndifon, of sexual harassment.

Some students, predominantly female students of the UNICAL law faculty in August protested in the school, accusing Ndifon of constantly harassing them sexually.

Following the protest, the school authority suspended Ndifon and subsequently constituted a panel of investigation to hear from both Ndifon and his alleged victims on the issue.

SaharaReporters gathered some victims – current and past students – and other witnesses already testified before the panel but Ndifon is scheduled to give his own testimony this week.

However, SaharaReporters was informed that rather than prepare and present his case, Ndifon has been exploring other means to get himself off the hook, including getting the support of the women affairs minister to intimidate the victims and prevent the panel from doing its job.

Some of the victims have complained about the minister calling to intimidate them into not testifying before the panel or changing their stories in favour of Ndifon.

SaharaReporters learnt that Kennedy accused the victims of working with some interested parties in the school including its vice-chancellor to unfairly remove Ndifon from the school.

Kennedy has taken over the case, reportedly saying it is under her jurisdiction. It was learnt that she had been calling and threatening the victims, claiming that the students had denied being raped or sexually harassed and that they were being used.

In a leaked audio conversation that she had with one of the female law students who have accused Ndifon of sexual harassment, the minister is heard saying, “At least you save my number, so soon you will come and visit me, right?” to which the student said, “If my VC approves.”

The minister quickly interrupted her and shouted, “What do you mean by if your VC approves?” But the student in a frightened voice said, “I don’t know na; okay, I will come and visit.”

Continuing the conversation, the minister said, “My dear, I want you to understand something, the day I spoke to you, I told you I recorded it. If your VC makes you go and lie against somebody, you will go to jail. Trust me, I personally will put you in jail.

“I want you to be very careful because your future is at stake. You can’t join anybody and maltreat a fellow human being. I won’t equally want you to be maltreated.

“The day I spoke with you, I recorded what we spoke and you told me the whole truth, and if your VC, because I contacted your VC, I don’t know what her plans are, I don’t want to quote anybody. I don’t equally want to condemn or judge anybody.

“But I want you to be very careful because this thing is going to bring fire. So, be very-very careful. If I were you, as you have already said to me nobody raped you, nobody did sexual harassment, keep off from this case because if she makes you go there, she is recording whatever you people are saying in that panel and if she records you and I bring my own, you got contradicted.

“And this man has gone to court, my ministry will join them and make sure you go to jail so that you will be an example to others.

“So, I want you to be very-very careful. This one you are telling me if your VC permits you, there is nothing she can do for you. She is not the one paying your school fees. So, save your future by standing on the truth at all times.

“Save my number. When you have time to visit me, I will find a way to empower you people so that your lives will be easier for you but keep away from things that will…, I am a minister, I’m above her (the VC) by position, you know that.

“So, don’t go and do anything that will put you into a very big trouble that will scandalise you in the whole world because this matter has gone far and beyond. I won’t play what you people said to me except you people try to deny it. I have to conceal it as something you told me in confidence but I’m warning you to keep off from lying against anybody.”

It was gathered that an alumnus of the university and a lecturer in the faculty of law in the school, identified as Prof. Okom told the panel investigating the allegations against Ndifon, that the suspended professor of law, was her project supervisor in 2008 when she graduated from the faculty and that “if all his victims were to come out to testify, it would take more than a month to hear their testimonies.”

Okom reportedly said, “During my time at the university, I heard many of my classmates talk about how Ndifon sexually harassed them. In fact, there was one of my classmates that dropped out of the faculty because of the randy behaviour of Ndifon.”

When SaharaReporters contacted the minister, Kennedy, over the leaked phone conversation with one of the victims, she said it was a wrong number, even though TrueCaller showed the name associated with the number as Uju Kennedy.

Recently, the minister told CITY LAWYER that no fewer than 10 persons had called to threaten her over the sexual harassment scandal.

She said the First Lady, Oluremi Tinubu, had ordered a thorough investigation into the allegations, adding that she had also assigned her Special Adviser on Women Affairs to follow through on the matter.

According to Kennedy, she has been “scandalized” due to her commitment to get to the root of the matter.

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