Minister apologises for threatening UNICAL sexual harassment witnesses


THE Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, has apologised for threatening female students who testified against the suspended University of Calabar (UNICAL) lecturer, Cyril Ndifon.

The university suspended Ndifon, a professor and Dean of the Faculty of Law in the institution, on August 17 after the female Law students protested, alleging that he had subjected them to sexual harassment and assault.

Ndifon denied the allegations.

Following the developments, the university set up an investigation panel to investigate the allegations, namely sexual harassment, lack of accountability and abuse of office.

In a video, the minister threatened the students testifying against the lecturer with dire consequences, including imprisonment if they lied against him.

However, in a statement released on Sunday, September 17, 2023, Uju tendered her apology to Nigerians and students who testified in the probe.

Uju stated: “I wish to express my sincere apologies to those who were offended by my comments and actions regarding the sexual harassment scandal at the University of Calabar. This is extremely regrettable as my intentions were sincere and aligned with my consistent advocacy for the welfare of Nigerian women and the pursuit of justice.

“I stand for all Nigerian women, and I stand for justice. It is my hope that we can work together to actualize the dream of a country where women’s rights are respected and protected and where our daughters feel safe in institutions of learning.”

She further expressed her concern over the escalating cases of sexual harassment across campuses and emphasized the need for decisive action. She assured that her ministry would actively seek justice for those affected.

The ICIR reported how in a leaked telephone conversation said to be of Ohaneye with one of the girls claiming to have been raped by Ndifon, threatened the girl and other testifiers that they would go to jail if they lied against Ndifon. 

Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in the society. You can shoot him a scoop via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.

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