Sexual Harassment: Professor Cyril Ndifon of UNICAL Accuses ICPC Lawyer of Being Unqualified

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Suspended dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Calabar (UNICAL), Prof. Cyril Ndifon, is challenging the sexual harassment charge against him, alleging that the prosecuting lawyer, Osuobeni Akponimisingha, lacks the qualifications to practice law.

Ndifon made this assertion in an affidavit presented to Justice James Omotosho by his lawyer, Joe Agi. He argued that Akponimisingha’s name is not listed in the roll of legal practitioners in Nigeria, as required by the Legal Practitioners Act.

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In response, Akponimisingha, in a counter affidavit dated March 20, defended his qualifications, stating that he holds a Practising Licence from the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) since 2016. He claimed that the addition of ‘Dr’ to his name was due to an additional academic qualification obtained after being called to the bar.

The dispute over the prosecutor’s qualifications has led to a delay in the trial, with Ndifon urging the court to dismiss the charges against him and his co-defendant, Mr. Anyanwu.

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However, the prosecuting lawyer accused the defence of employing delay tactics and urged the court to reject their plea.

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Justice Omotosho expressed frustration with the diversion from the main issue and scheduled a meeting with the lawyers involved to address the matter. He set April 19 for a ruling on Ndifon’s motion seeking permission for an independent forensic examination of exhibits tendered by the ICPC.

Ndifon and Anyanwu were re-arraigned on January 25 on charges of sexual harassment and attempting to pervert the course of justice. The amended charge, filed on January 22 by the ICPC, also implicates Anyanwu for allegedly threatening a witness during the trial.

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