The Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy, has expressed great enthusiasm concerning the outcome of the University of Calabar (UNICAL) investigation panel, set up to unravel the truth behind the sexual harassment allegations and other violation of extant laws against Prof Ndifon, the university’s Vice Chancellor stated.
Addressing newsmen in Calabar, the VC, Prof Florence Obi, maintained that the sustained orientation by her administration in the past years has created the atmosphere that inspires confidence amongst students to speak out against exploitation, victimization and harassment of any sort.
Information contained in a document made available to pressmen during the briefing, the VC stated that “while management has tried to deal with the issues within the procedural laws of administrative resolution, a completely 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 the few girls who were bold enough to come out to testify on an alleged age-long sexual harassment of female law students against Prof. Cyril Ndifon.
“The students should rather be encouraged and the University commended for being on the right path. In greater need of this encouragement are the girls whose educational empowerment is key to their survival in an oppressive and dominant patriarchal culture that yields little or no space for women.
“To demonstrate the Management’s interest in ensuring an objective, unbiased investigation, we accepted the request from the following agencies to serve as observers; Public Complaints Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (represented by a member from the University Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit), Nigeria Bar Association (National), Nigeria Police Gender Unit (D12), Federation of Female Lawyers, University of Calabar Alumni Association (National) and the Chief Judge of Malabor High Court (rep of students).
“In addition to this, the panel has livestream sessions on zoom, as advertised on some national dailies, through which interested persons participate. Despite all these, sadly, there are people who choose to politicise and look at the effort of the Management differently as if exercising the courage to confront impropriety is a crime,” she said.
Adding, “let me again emphasize that sexual harassment is not the only issue being investigated by the university (although it has taken the centre stage with the public). There are equally serious matters which relate to violation of extant rules and regulations of the University being investigated as raised in the student’s petition. Let me use this opportunity and assure the general public that we are not going to be distracted by any noise, accusations and ‘alternative truths’ some have chosen to engage in.
“As a reminder, I wish to restate the fact that this administration has nothing personal against Prof. Cyril Ndifon other than her commitment to seeing that the university achieves her vision, mission and philosophy.
“Having said that, let me appreciate the enormity of the office occupied by my sister, Mrs Uju Kennedy the Honorable Minister. But my responsibility as Vice-Chancellor and those of other well-meaning Nigerians, no matter their office or position in life, are no less important in the building of a greater Nigeria. Indeed, we are all partners in building our nation and serving humanity,” she averred.
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