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Sexual harassment: Women Voice calls for thorough investigation of Prof. Ndifon, commends UNICAL VC

By Frank Ulom

Women networks under the  ‘Women Voice and Leadership Project’ of ActionAid Nigeria, funded by Global Affairs Canada, have condemned in strong terms the alleged scandal with regard to the unwarranted intimidation and sexual harassment at the University of Calabar (UNICAL) where the erstwhile Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof. Cyril Ndifon, over alleged sexual harassment.

The Women’s group said that the alleged sexual harassment which is the second so far reported against Prof. Ndifon was not only appalling, and disgusting but, unacceptable to put it mildly.

It is in light of these anomalies that we not only call but strongly demand stringent measures against Prof. Ndifon.

“While we commend the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof. Florence Obi, and the management team of the institution for the swift action taken by suspending Prof. Ndifon over the violations of the well-laid rules and regulations of the institution, we however insist and demand for a full and comprehensive investigation into the condemnable matter as well as ensure proper prosecution of Prof. Ndifon to serve as deterrent to others with similar behavioural pattern or intentions.

“Towards this end, we urge heads of educational institutions in the country to as a matter of public importance, burrow a leaf from the Vice Chancellor of UNICAL by creating a safe space for girls to voice out against sexual and gender-based violence in schools.”

They said such proactive measures will go a long way to create an environment such as the type that empowered the law students of UNICAL to stage a protest and open up on the constant sexual harassment and abuse of their bodies by lecturers of the institution.

The group said that if the ugly trend is not urgently addressed, it is capable of truncating the educational and self-development of girls and women.

“It is in this respect that we passionately appeal to Mr President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to as a matter of national concern and interest, kindly assent to the Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Educational Institutions Bill passed by the 9th National Assembly.

“Similarly, we strongly recommend that educational institutions in Nigeria should as a matter of necessity, develop sexual and gender harassment policies to safeguard the dignity of girls with a view to providing a safe environment for learning.

“Lastly, we wish to applaud the boldness and forthrightness of the female law students of UNICAL for standing up and speaking against injustice. We therefore appeal to other students facing similar abuses and intimidation to speak up so that the educational system can be cleansed of bad elements.”

The Women Voice group promised to work with the gender department of UNICAL to provide psycho-social support to survivors of sexual harassment in the school with a view to giving them hope for a better future.

The team had earlier paid a visit to the VC to identify with her efforts and actions so far and to encourage her to allow justice, equity and fair play on the matter.

They, however, demanded the security protection of the girls and students who had come out to speak.

In her remarks, the VC said students are speaking out today because she has created an enabling and safe environment for students since assumption of office through the numerous student programmes and projects like youth friendly hub and Gender Development Centre geared towards building their confidence level that encourage them to be vocal and speak out in addition to being accessible to all students.

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Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom is an experienced Journalist, Blogger and Writer with several years of experience. His stories are based on community development and have brought positive change across board.

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