Federal High Court sitting in Calabar has ruled that the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), has the right to investigate a former Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Calabar, Professor Cyril Osim Ndifon, over allegation of raping one of his students.
Justice I. E. Ekwo who delivered judgment on Thursday 2nd March, 2017 in a suit brought against ICPC by the Professor of Law, in which he sought to restrain the Commission from investigating the alleged offence of demanding for sexual gratification from a female student of the University, maintained that it was within the purview of ICPC to investigate the case in accordance with the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.
The trial judge while setting aside the police report upon which he sought to restrain ICPC, having being exonerated by the said report, noted that other issues which are within the competence of ICPC to investigate arose in the case.
He added that the offence of sexual gratification was contrary to Sections 8, 9, and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, which refer to any public officer who receives benefit of any kind in the discharge of his duties or uses his position to confer corrupt advantage upon himself.
It would be recalled that a final year law student had petitioned ICPC alleging that the Professor had sex with her in his office without her consent, after inviting her to the office to rewrite an earlier cancelled test.
In a statement on oath dated November 11, 2015, the student accused,Ndifon, who was the lecturer in-charge of a course, Law of Trust, of raping her when she went to recopy her script torn by him during a class test held that day.
According to the statement, the lecturer had administered a test to the class. Barely 40 minutes after the test commenced, Ndifon was said to have ordered the students to stop writing and submit their scripts. As the invigilators were going round to collect the scripts, Ndifon walked up to her, took her script and tore it in the presence of her classmates.
Shortly after leaving the hall, she met Ndifon again, who asked her to come to his office with the torn script. She said that her friends accompanied her to the office of Ndifon and waited outside the main office.
“While I was in the office, Prof Ndifon instructed me to bring foolscap paper and directed me to re-copy my answer to the questions from the torn script in the presence of his secretary. As I began to write, he came in and instructed that I move to his private office on the last floor, where it would be more convenient for me to re-copy the test. I complied.Five minutes later, while writing, he came in with a glass of alcoholic wine, locked the door and told me to kiss him with the wine in his mouth, and I refused.”
She spoke further: “Ndifon started to fondle me and attempting to forcefully kiss me and introduce the drink into my mouth. I continued to resist until he overpowered me. Thereafter, he dragged me to a chair in his office, put on a condom and tore off the trouser I was wearing and forcefully penetrated me and had sex with me without my consent. His staff probably did not hear all my struggle and shouts for help as the door and windows of his private office were closed and locked.”
She explained that the incident happened between 3-5pm. When the Professor was done with his deed, he opened the door and told her to go.
“I stumbled out of his office crying, weak, frightened and totally traumatized,” she said.
While walking back to the hostel in the company of her course mates, who she claimed had patiently waited for her while she was at the dean’s office recopying the script, they met a man that took pity on her unstable condition. The man took her to the Airport Police station where she lodged a report of rape against Ndifon. Similarly, her parents reported the rape to the university, which conducted preliminary investigations and based on the findings, summarily suspended Ndifon.