UNICAL VC condemns minister’s threats against sexual harassment witnesses

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The Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Professor Florence Bisong, has voiced expressed concern regarding a leaked viral audio recording linked to the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Ohaneye, issuing threats and intimidation towards female students who had testified about alleged sexual harassment by Prof. Cyril Ndifon of the varsity.

Law faculty female students had protested against Ndifon, whom they accused of sexual harassment, an allegation he denied.

The minister had in a video warned parties in the probe, saying, “Whoever lies in this Calabar sexual case will go to jail. I will personally make sure that all (guilty persons) involved in this shameful act shall be prosecuted and jailed. I am pleading with you, I want justice to be done.

“If you have complaints or anything to talk about concerning this case, head to the panel because the investigation is still ongoing. Go there and lay the complaint but don’t lie. Because if you lie, I will make sure you are prosecuted and jailed if found guilty.”

Prof. Obi, while addressing the matter on Friday at the University Council Chambers, emphasised the importance of supporting and commending the students for their courage in coming forward.

“A new dimension has unfortunately reared its head in a way that has left us nonplussed with the leaked viral audio of intimidation and jail threats from the minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy, on a few girls who were bold enough to come out to testify on an alleged age-long sexual harassment of female law students against Professor Ndifon.

“While I do not consider it expedient to respond to the disturbing audio, I wish to generally state that the students of the Faculty of Law on their own wrote and submitted a petition and protested against the suspended Dean. And as I know, those who have testified before the panel on both sexual harassment and other violations were not prompted by anyone.

“The University should rather be commended for being on the right path which is directed towards academic excellence and creating an environment which is key to their survival in an “oppressive and dominant patriarchal culture that yields little or no space for women,” she said.

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