A professor in the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom, SinemAbasi Ekong has narrated how the embattled Dean of the Faculty of Law in the University of Calabar, Cross River State, Prof. Cyril Ndifon allegedly raped her 20-year-old daughter in his office.
Prof. Ekong said Ndifon tore her daughter’s answer script during a test and subsequently used that to trick her daughter to go to his office, where he allegedly raped her twice.
On Monday reports of female students of the faculty of law at the University of Calabar demanding the immediate removal of their dean, Ndifon for allegedly sexually harassing them was all over the news.
This is seen in a viral video on X, formerly known as Twitter which shows the moment the predominantly female students, clad in their traditional white and black attire, protested in the school.
The angry students are seen in the video displaying placards with inscriptions like, “We are tired of sucking big ****”, “Professor Ndifon, let the girls with big breasts breathe. Stop suffocating us,” and “Enough of law school list manipulation.”
Meanwhile, a civil society organization, under the aegis Sacredhearts Gender Protective Initiative in December 2022 questioned the reinstatement and promotion of the dean who was once accused of raping a female student in his office.
Prof. Ekong’s account as obtained by SaharaReporters is as follows:
It was on August 29, a Saturday, I got an anonymous call from the Airport Police Station in Calabar.
The caller sought to know if I was the mother of (name withheld) and I said yes, he said my daughter was giving a statement at the police station. I exclaimed because the 20-year-old student had never visited the police station before let alone give statement.
The caller said she was crying when a good Samaritan saw her, asked her some questions and eventually brought her to the station. I immediately had to call my in-law in Calabar – because we are based in Akwa Ibom State – who now had to go to the station to meet with her.
He (my in-law) went there and being a medical doctor, he directed the conduct of medical examination on her. That done, I now asked my daughter to narrate to me what transpired. She told me that she was sexually assaulted by the Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Calabar (UNICAL), Prof. Cyril Ndifon.
She said the incident happened in the dean’s office between 3 pm and 5 pm of August 29. I immediately insisted that my in-law should bring her to Akwa Ibom, it was then my husband and I sat her down to find out what actually transpired.
I must state that she is a brilliant student; you can find that out from her department. She said they had a test, incidentally it is only the law and medical students that are on campus at the moment, others had yet to return from their short holiday. So, the entire campus is quiet but it beats my imagination why a lecturer would fix a test for Saturday when there are so many empty lecture halls begging to be used during the week.
The dean may have done this to satisfy his usual and normal animalistic behaviour. She said the test was supposed to have been for one hour and he had instructed two persons to supervise it. Suddenly, he (the dean) came in and stopped the test 20 minutes before time at which time so many students were probably struggling to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. He walked straight to my daughter’s desk collected the script and tore it.
He left the torn script on her seat, so the girl collected the pieces up and put them in her bag. She left with her three friends. According to her, you will still have to pass through the faculty before leaving the building. She said as they were leaving, the dean accosted her again and asked if she still had the shredded script, she said yes. He instructed her to follow him to the general dean’s office to recopy the answers on a plane sheet, which she did.
The unsuspecting girl followed him to the general office where two people were including the dean’s secretary. The office of the dean is on the first floor of the building, according to my daughter. She said while writing in that office, the dean who had earlier gone out, came in again and instructed her to follow him to his private office on the second floor so that she could comfortably use the table.
It meant this whole thing was premeditated because if the dean was sincere, he would have used his official office space next to the secretary’s office instead of going to his private office. She said he claimed that he had some work to do also and would want to monitor the girl and my daughter had to follow him. Not up to five minutes after getting to his private office, the dean asked the young woman to kiss him, she refused. He now pretended as if all was well so that she could feel free. She continued copying.
Before she knew what was happening, he got up and tried to force my daughter to drink whiskey, she told him that she had never taken alcohol.
Now let me give you her background. She finished from the Air Force Comprehensive School in Akwa Ibom State where there is no cheating and where the students are well tutored. He now asked her how many A’s do you have?
My daughter said she has many. He now promised to increase the tally. She told him point blank that she was not interested in influencing her results. So, he now tried to force the drink, but the girl struggled. Before this time he had locked the door and kept the keys away. He now told her that he wanted to have sex with her, they started struggling. She pleaded with him that she had not eaten since morning and that she read deep into the night for the test. But he kept struggling with her. She was shouting but there was no rescue.
In the process, he removed his clothes and continued struggling and probably overpowered her after exhaustion. He forcefully removed her trousers and assaulted her. By this time, the girl attempted to run out again but the door was locked. He dragged her back and pushed her down again. Within spilt seconds he quickly dashed out after dressing hurriedly, suspecting that people would have heard, locked the doors and came back some few minutes later with a bottle of stout.
My daughter was weak and was pleading with him to allow her go that she was feeling dizzy; he had sex with her again for the second time. When he saw that she was almost becoming speechless and also fainting, he opened the door and told her to go. He offered to drop her but my daughter said no. She went down the building herself where she met one of her friends who was still waiting and was narrating her ordeal crying when a good Samaritan saw her and carried her.
This case was reported at the police station. She was taken to the police clinic for medical examination. We have reported it officially to the university authority. The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. James Epoke, was sad about it and he asked us to do a letter, which we did. I asked the vice-chancellor if the dean was above the law, because I told him that I learnt this had been his stock-in-trade over the years, he said with the letter with him, he was going to take action. The thing happened on a Saturday. I called my daughter back on Sunday, we went to see the vice-chancellor on Monday but ended up seeing him on Tuesday.
I know the God of justice is alive to see me through this case. Even though this has happened, it is my prayer that this matter should set other children free. I have confidence that the university authority will handle this because the vice-chancellor gave me his word because I told him that nobody should victimise my daughter.
For those lecturers trying to protect Ndifon, if they think this action is good, may sexual assault never depart from their families. This is a traumatising experience. I never thought it will happen because my daughter is brilliant. Why did he not choose to do it with those girls who willingly go to him to beg for scores? Why my daughter who never went to him for scores?
A 70-year-old man forcefully having sex with a 20-year-old student, my daughter, who is the pride of the family, this is wicked. The pains of us, the parents, whose daughters he has molested, will hunt him forever and ever. She cried.
Prof. SinemAbasi Ekong
UNIVERSITY Of UYO