Archive for September, 2015

DEMAND FOR THOROUGH AND URGENT INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF PROF. CYRIL OSIM NDIFON OF THE FACULTY OF LAW, UNIVERSITY OF CALABAR FOR RAPE AND OTHER OFFENCES

September 17, 2015

September 14, 2015.

The Commissioner of Police,

Cross River State Command,

Calabar.

Dear Sir,

DEMAND FOR THOROUGH AND URGENT INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF PROF. CYRIL OSIM NDIFON OF THE FACULTY OF LAW, UNIVERSITY OF CALABAR FOR RAPE AND OTHER OFFENCES

Introduction

We are alumni of the Faculty of Law, University of Calabar, Calabar. We are all barristers and solicitors of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and are spread throughout Nigeria and well beyond. Professor Cyril Osim Ndifon, the disgraced and suspended Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Calabar, was one of our law lecturers. He taught us the course Nigerian Legal System sometime in the year 1999.

We heard with alarm the allegation that Professor Cyril Osim Ndifon raped Sinemobong Ekong Nkang, one of his students, following her refusal of his sexual overtures. While we know that by section 36 (5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), a presumption of innocence inures in favour of anyone accused of having committed an offence, we note with dismay that the allegation is all too familiar and is an enduring theme of the over two-decades-old academic career of Prof. Ndifon. Ndifon’s victims number in the hundreds, if not thousands. Our own class, which is approximately 200-stong, teems with victims of his intimidation, sexual harassment and sexual predation.

The Facts of the Rape

Professor Cyril Osim Ndifon had scheduled a test for his 400-level Law of Equity & Trust class to be held on Saturday, August 29, 2015 in one of the halls of the Faculty of Law. The test held as scheduled. Forty minutes into a sixty-minute exercise, he entered the hall and asked everyone to hand in their answer booklets. As invigilators moved from desk to desk collecting scripts, those who were yet to be reached tried feverishly to round up their answers. Professor Ndifon walked up to one of these students, a 20-year-old girl whom he had been admiring for ages, grabbed her script and tore it to shreds, dumping the shreds on her desk. The hapless and totally bewildered girl gathered the shreds and stuffed them into her bag.

About half an hour later, she was on her way out of the faculty building and was bound for her hostel in the company of friends when Prof. Ndifon drove in. He had left shortly after the drama in the examination hall. On seeing her, he asked whether she still had her shredded answer script. Yes, she answered. Prof. Ndifon then asked her to gather them, get a fresh foolscap sheet of paper and go up to his office to copy out her original answers. She went up to his office where she met his secretary and two other persons. She explained her mission and was allowed to sit with them in the outer office to copy out her answers. The Dean’s office is on the first floor.

Shortly thereafter, Prof. Ndifon walked in. He directed her to go to his private office on the second floor so she could use the table there. She had been writing with the answer script placed on her thighs and had been uncomfortable. She gratefully went to his office on the floor above and settled down to work. About five minutes into her writing, Prof. Ndifon walked in with his trademark swagger. He had a glass of wine in his hand. He took a sip of it and, without swallowing it, asked a kiss of her. She declined and continued with her writing.

He went out. About five minutes later, he returned. This time, he locked the door and removed the key from the lock. To put the girl’s mind at ease, he told her he wanted to work and could do without distractions. He sat on his chair and seemed to be working when he suddenly stood up, walked up to the girl and solicited for a kiss. Again, the girl turned him down. He seemed to take her rejection in his strides and told her to go on with her writing. However, he remained restless. A few minutes later, he planted himself before her and tried to force her to drink his wine. When she again refused he poured some of it into his mouth and tried to force a wine-laden kiss on her. The girl fought him off, causing some of the wine to spill on the floor and on her clothes.

Determined to have some reward for his exertions, he dragged her from her seat to the settee a few metres away and told her pointblank that he wanted to have sex with her. She told him that she would not have sex with him. He tried to forcefully undress her. She screamed. With no one answering her screams, he undressed himself and fetched a condom from a shelf in his office. He put it on and, pinning her down, forced his manhood into her body, inflicting a great physical and emotional pain that was as brutal as it was mindless.

While he continued to hurt her, there was a knock at the door. The fellow knocked and went away, the footfall receding. Prof. Ndifon got off the body of his young victim, wore his clothes and helped her into her own clothes. He apologized profusely, telling her that he did not know what had come over him. He opened the door and went out. The girl looked round for her mobile phone so that she could place an SOS call. It was nowhere to be found. She went to the door and tried the handle. It was locked. In her traumatized state, she had not heard him locking it. With nothing to do, she imposed some composure on herself. She had gone there to write her test. She had to follow through as she was anxious not to fail the course of no less a lecturer than the Dean of the Faculty himself.

About thirty minutes later, her nightmare turned the key in the lock and entered. He was carrying a bottle of Guinness Stout which he opened and began to drink out of. He offered it to her but she declined. He tried to force the bottle into her mouth. Some of the drink entered her mouth which she promptly spat onto the floor. He took a swig of the bottle, dragged her close and forced the drink from his mouth into hers. Yet again, she spat it out on the floor.

He flew into a rage and ordered her to undress at the count of three. His victim had not eaten all day. Her ordeal lasted from around 3 to 5pm. She was very exhausted and told him as much. But Prof. Ndifon was having none of it. He counted to three. When his victim refused to obey him, he dragged her to the settee and, suing his knees to pinion her, ripped the zipper on her trousers. She was weak both from hunger and her ordeal and, in tears, pleaded with him to let her be. He was deaf to her entreaties. He told her that she was so great an actress that she could win an Oscar, assuring her he had met many girls like her in the past.

After more struggling, his weary victim was momentarily free. She got down on her knees and pleaded with him to let her go. He simply pushed her down, wore a condom and once again forced his manhood into her body. When he saw that she was at the point of losing consciousness, he got off her body and told her she could go. He offered to drop her off in his car. But she refused his offer. She got dressed and was staggering down the stairs when he caught up with her and asked her to carry his bag to his car. She complied. Only one of his staff was left. He assisted his boss to lock up the Dean’s office after which they drove off in Prof. Ndifon’s car.

By this time, all her friends and course mates who had been waiting for her had all left, except one who refused to leave. According Sinemobong, the said friend saw her

’’…in tears and rushed up to help me. He asked what happened to me, but I could not still put myself together to tell him what happened. I asked him to help dial my mother’s number in my phone, and I narrated briefly what Ndifon did to me. My friend, with the help of a Good Samaritan drove me to the Police Station where I made a written statement”.

The Issues

  1. It is against university regulations for a lecturer to hold a test on a Saturday in a programme that is full time. The law programme is full time;
  1. Assuming that the girl had been guilty of examination malpractice as alleged by Prof. Ndifon, tearing up her answer script was not the proper course of action to take as the university has a clear protocol for dealing with examination malpractice issues.
  1. Assuming that the girl had been guilty of examination malpractice, Prof. Ndifon had no authority whatsoever to forgive her as she broke university rules, not his private rules. In asking her to re-copy the answers on a fresh sheet, he therefore acted ultra vires as a lecturer; and, in covering up a wrongdoing, he fell foul of university regulations. In fact, he broke extant law;
  1. There is no satisfactory explanation for why Prof. Ndifon took the girl from his office as a Dean where there were two or three other people to his personal office as a lecturer– where there was absolutely nobody. The facts reveal that the girl had been carefully chosen as a target;
  1. Prof. Ndifon had previously claimed that his sex with the girl was consensual. Assuming but not conceding that girl actually gave herself to him voluntarily, such consent is invalid at law as a presumption of undue influence inures against Prof. Ndifon considering his position as her course lecturer and also the Dean of the Faculty of Law;
  1. Professor Ndifon has not been accused of anything that is not within his perverse and perverted nature.

Other Crimes

Prof. Cyril Osim Ndifon was a law undergraduate of the University of Calabar in the 1980’s. However, in his second or third year, the University rusticated him for cultism-related activities. He went to the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) where he later obtained his Bachelor of Law degree (LLB) and the University of Jos for his Master of Laws (LLM). We are dismayed that the University of Calabar eventually offered him a position as an academic staff and thus gave him a platform which he used to pursue his mischief for about two decades now.

It is our opinion that based on the character deficit which his rustication typifies; the University should not have employed him. There is thus no doubt in our minds that by its negligence or perhaps even outright refusal to carry out a thorough background check on Prof. Cyril Osim Ndifon, the University of Calabar unleashed an absolute monster on the hapless students of the University in general and students of the Faculty of Law in particular. The University of Calabar therefore shares direct blame in the unfortunate incident of August 29, 2015.

Prof. Cyril Osim Ndifon attended the Nigerian Law School. From our experience, we know that before a law graduate is offered admission by the School, he must fill out a form– which is on oath. Part of the information that the form seeks to elicit is whether the applicant had ever been rusticated from the university and whether he was or had ever been a secret cultist. An applicant who answers those questions in the affirmative is invariably denied admission. Considering that Prof. Cyril Osim Ndifon was offered admission and that he went on to pass out of the School, it is clear that he lied on oath.

Prof. Cyril Osim Ndifon is also an academic entrepreneur albeit in a negative sense. He carries on a thriving money-for-grades trade and habitually solicits for money from students in exchange for grades. In our time, one of his agents was our classmate. He habitually failed students who either refused to bow to his extortionist scheme or yield to his rabid sexual advances.

The Intrigues

Prof. Ndifon is a powerful man. He is a legal practitioner, a professor of law and a Dean of the Faculty of Law. He also has a huge sentimental capital. He is Cross River State’s first (and, to the best of our knowledge, only) Professor of Law. People in the highest echelons of power in the State and beyond are working hard to help him escape justice. They argue that Cross River State will be the loser if he falls from his exalted position. It does not matter to them that his sexual rapacity knows no tribe or tongue.

Prof. Ndifon himself has never been guilty of displaying any ethnic sentiments in his selection of victims. In fact, he has an eclectic taste: whether Igbo or Efik, Ejagham or Ibibio, Yoruba or Ijaw, Yakurr or Yala, everyone is fair game. Besides, it is disingenuous for anyone to suggest that Cross River State can be best served by a serial rapist. No glory can sprout from a foundation of shame and infamy. He is not an asset to Cross River State but rather a heavy liability.

Already, Prof. Ndifon and his proxies have taken to social media, especially Facebook, to plead his case. Firstly, they leaked the identity of the victim by publishing her name and picture; their aim is to traumatize her further into perpetual silence. All previous press reports had withheld the information as to the identity of the victim. Secondly, they have tried to shape the narrative in a way that casts the victim as a morally loose person. But that cannot stand. Even if a lady is a whore, it is no less rape for any man to have sexual intercourse with her without her consent.

Again, Prof. Cyril Osim Ndifon and his sympathizers are piling tremendous pressure on the girl to drop the case. They have also subjected her to threats and intimidation. In fact, her lawyers have taken up the matter of an Army captain who called the victim to threaten her.

Our Prayers

On the strength of the foregoing, we earnestly and respectfully urge on you the following demands:

  1. That you thoroughly, professionally and impartially investigate the case of rape against Prof. Ndifon with a view to charging him to court to answer for his evil. His reputation as a skirt chaser, sexual harasser and rapist is the stuff of legends. For about two decades, the randy academic had blackmailed many female students into hopping onto his infamous table by threatening to frustrate their graduation from the law programme unless they had sex with him. The monster must be quarantined before he does more damage. The reign of impunity must stop.
  1. That you liaise with the Nigerian Law School to investigate Prof. Cyril Osim Ndifon for perjury and to prosecute him for same.
  1. That you bind Prof. Cyril Osim Ndifon over for good conduct to the end that no harm will come to any of the signatories to this petition.

We urge you to ensure that this matter is not compromised or even compounded. As the police often remind us, it is an offence to compound a felony. Rape is not a matter for amicable settlement. Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

The Law Class of 1997,

University of Calabar

Signatories:

  1. Adamade, Odey Simon
  2. Adula, Sampson Adula
  3. Agi, Anne Uruegi
  4. Ajara, Michael Ayambem
  5. Akpanke, Richard
  6. Akunefo, Tony
  7. Amadi, Perpetua
  8. Aniefiok, Tom Sunday
  9. Ariku, Tom
  10. Attoe, Bassey
  11. Damba, CC
  12. Effiom, Nnanke
  13. Ekeng, Edem
  14. Ekpo, Philip
  15. Elezuo, Eziaku
  16. Eyo, Glory
  17. Ibia, Bassey
  18. Igboanugo, Winifred
  19. Inaku, John
  20. Martins, Gloria
  21. Mbu-Ogar, Chris Njar
  22. Nsidibe, Brooks.
  23. Ntui, Panam
  24. Nuesiri, Daniel
  25. Nwosu, Philip
  26. Ofoha, John-Bede
  27. Ondale, Innocent Ondale
  28. Sokolo, Solomon
  29. Ulaeto, Nelson
  30. Unoh, Emenobazi Usetu
  31. Urubulam, Daniel Iyo

Cc:

  1. The Solicitor General, Ministry of Justice, Cross River State
  2. The Director of Public Prosecutions, Ministry of Justice, Cross River State
  3. The Inspector General of Police, Louis Edet House, Abuja.
  4. Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 6 Headquarters, Calabar,
  5. Director-General, Department of State Security, National Headquarters, Abuja
  6. The Vice Chancellor, University of Calabar, Calabar
  7. The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja
  8. The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Abuja
  9. The National President, Nigerian Bar Association
  10. The Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Calabar Branch, Calabar
  11. The Chairman, Council of Legal Education, Abuja
  12. The Director-General, Nigerian Law School, Abuja
  13. The Chairman, Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Committee, Abuja
  14. FIDA, Abuja

Summary of the Acumen/IDEO Human Centred Design Course: What is Human Centred Design?

September 16, 2015
Human-centered design is a creative approach to problem solving. It’s a process that starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor-made to suit their needs.
 
Human-centered design is a process that can be used across industries and sectors to approach any number of challenges—from product and service design to space or systems design, to name just a few.
 
The human-centered design process has three phases—the Inspiration phase, the Ideation phase, and the Implementation phase. In the end, you’ll know that your solution will be a success because you’ve kept the people you’re looking to serve at the heart of the process.
 
In the Inspiration phase you’ll learn directly from the people you’re designing for as you immerse yourself in their lives and come to deeply understand their needs. In the Ideation phase you’ll make sense of what you learned, identify opportunities for design, and prototype possible solutions. And in the Implementation phase you’ll bring your solution to life, and eventually, to market.
Expect to find yourself shifting gears through the process, moving from concrete observations to highly abstract thinking, and then right back again into the nuts and bolts of your prototype. We call it diverging and converging. You’ll diverge and converge a few times, and with each new cycle you’ll come closer and closer to the solution that is best suited for the people you’re designing for.
 
Design thinking at work – positive deviance ; an approach that looks for solutions among individuals and families in the community who are already doing well.
 
As Monique Sternin, now director of the Positive Deviance Initiative, explains:
 
“Both positive deviance and design thinking are human-centered ap- proaches. Their solutions are relevant to a unique cultural context and will not necessarily work outside that specific situation.”
 
First stage – The inspiration space, the problem or opportunity that motivates people to search for solutions.
 
The Brief – the parameters for the team members
 
Once the brief has been constructed, it is time for the design team to discover what people’s needs are.
 
The starting point – observe the actual experiences of the people as they improvise their way through their daily lives.
 
The second space of the design thinking process is ideation.
 
“To have a good idea you must first have lots of ideas.”
 
To achieve divergent thinking, it is important to have a diverse group of people involved in the process.
 
To operate within an interdisciplinary environment, an individual needs to have strengths in two dimensions—the “T-shaped” person. On the vertical axis, every member of the team needs to possess a depth of skill that allows him or her to make tangible contributions to the outcome. The top of the “T” is where the design thinker is made. It’s about empathy for people and for disciplines beyond one’s own. It tends to be expressed as openness, curiosity, optimism, a tendency toward learning through doing, and experimentation.
 
Interdisciplinary teams typically move into a structured brain- storming process. One rule during the brainstorming process is to defer judgment. Instead, participants are encouraged to come up with as many ideas as possible then move into a process of grouping and sorting ideas.
 
Good ideas naturally rise to the top, whereas the bad ones drop off early on.
 
The third space of the design thinking process is implementation, At the core of the implementation process is prototyping, turning ideas into actual products and services that are then tested, iterated, and refined.
Through prototyping, the design thinking process seeks to uncover unforeseen implementation challenges and unintended consequences in order to have more reliable long-term success.
 
After the prototyping process is finished and the ultimate prod-uct or service has been created, the design team helps create a com- munication strategy.

Surviving Abuse – Abusive Parents of Adult Children. Does it Stop?

September 9, 2015

“Many adult children of abusers continue to deal with ongoing abuse long after we have reached the age of maturity.

Child abuse is always spoken about as a thing of the past. We either deride adults for being unable to “overcome” it or we encourage them to deal with their “wounded inner child.

I was surprised by how many people wrote to tell me about ways in which their parents financially abused them.

If the stories of financial abuse shocked me, the stories of new or continued sexual abuse left me bereft.

People sent me stories about parents who have beaten their adult children so badly they had to be hospitalized.

Others kept their abuse more strategic, mostly to keep them from feeling strong and independent.

And then there are abusive parents who force their children to care for them.

…it is not only possible for parents to continue abusing their adult children, it is a likely outcome. Our default assumption should be that abusive parents never stop abusing. They just change their tactics.”

Wow. THIS is an important read for everyone. Did you think the abuse ended when you left the house? You see how the abuse is continued in adulthood? You need to identify abusers and you need to call them out or banish them out of your life. They will not change, they will continue to abuse you in different and various ways. Its not easy to stand up for yourself, parental bonds run deep.

Did you ever wonder if childhood abuse was just a set up for life long ‘domination and control?

….”the abuse they survived in childhood was their parents’ way of laying the groundwork so that they could continue tormenting and manipulating their children for the rest of their lives.”

One of the most insidious forms of abuse is financial. Either the parent sucks the financial life out of you or they use their money to manipulate you. Doesn’t it just get in your caw when abusive parents expect you to care for them financially without complaint or question? And abuse you if you don’t or can’t? Or guilts you, or threatens to commit suicide…..

That IS abusive behaviour, its manipulative and ignores your self-determination.

We live communally in Africa – for and with each other – but it should be cooperative and never coercive, understanding not exploitative, loving not entitled. Healthy. Not distorted.

Like all abusive relationships no one can tell the victim what to do about it, thats each persons personal decision and choice.

May you be a survivor not a victim.

Grief

Grief

Francis Bacon - Man and Child

On Friendship 

September 1, 2015

Old friends are like old songs. You hit rewind, play, fast forward so many times. You know all the lyrics. You know the base line. You know the pause. The riff.

Good old friends are like that. You know them so well you can imagine what they’d say or do even when they’re not there.

Good friends are the ones that don’t change just because they got married, or a new job, or were elected governor, or won the lottery. You know their lyrics. They’re harmonious and consistent. Sometimes better, fuller, richer but never discordant or jarring.

Sometimes they play off key. Sometimes they lose their joy. Sometimes they lose their voice. Over the years some pruning happens. Some stick. Some fall away. We’re never going to make friends like we used to. Or share those intense bonding experiences of youth.

If you don’t see joy on their face you go away. Unless there is joy between you why bother to stay. Life is too short to be less than the best you can make of it. Mutual joy, unadulterated joy is friendship.

Sometimes friends disagree. Sometimes they don’t talk to each for awhile. Then one day they meet and no one would know they didn’t speak yesterday. Because life happens and you can’t always take it personally.

Can we be friends if we don’t share beliefs and values? Don’t you have friends that believe in God, and Church, and the Illuminati? Friends that believe in Revolution and condone fascism?

Don’t you have stingy friends? And generous friends? Are you generous or stingy? With your time, your emotions, your energy? If all your friends are generous what would that say about you? Narcissists form relationships with only gain in mind.

Friendships are familiarity. And degrees of familiarity. The friends with the greatest familiarity are the ones you call ‘close friends’. The ones you are comfortable being vulnerable with. Friendships are vulnerability. And degrees of vulnerability.

That’s why you distance yourself from the ones that take advantage of you when you are vulnerable. The ones you thought you could trust. Friendship is sticking up for each other and watching each others back. ‘I got you?’ No shaking.’

Friendship is reciprocity. Because without it someone will feel cheated. And growth. Or it becomes a broken record – irritating the hell out of you. Sometimes the record cracks, sometimes it even breaks into a dozen pieces. Sometimes you try to put it together again like a puzzle. Sometimes it’s never quite the same.

Friendship is acceptance. Accepting each of you is perfect just the way you are. Friendship is disappointment too. And degrees of disappointment. Maybe you’ll never speak again. Maybe you won’t even remember what happened.

Joy. And degrees of joy…

Friendship – what is this thing called friendship?

Is it the people that helped you when you were down? The ones that held your hand while you were sick? The ones that listened when you were down? Or the ones that told you to snap out of it? And bite the bullet? Both? All?

The one that held your hand while you were sick was also the one that bit your hand and them tried to chop it off. Alas. It’s so much easier to just listen to your instincts sometimes.

Listen.

Friendship is instinct. Instinctively you will know who you can trust. And how many degrees of trust.

Is your resolve to make things better than you found them? Do you care? Or do you merely think of what you can extract and gain? Do you mutually reinforce a striving for excellence? Do you strive for excellence? Are you scared? Do you share your fears? Are you still posing? And dreams?

Friendship is sincerity. But what do you do with the sincerely ignorant?

You get up early on a Sunday morning to take your friends sister to the airport when her logistic plans fall through and it’s almost a crisis. Did you think about it first? Over the years you lose track of who owes who what.

When friends are down you discreetly slip them a bill or two when you can. You don’t make a song and dance about it. You don’t expect nothing in return. You don’t wait for them to ask. Or even pay back. Degrees of friendship. You can’t help the ones pretending everything’s all right. Degrees of sincerity.

Once upon a time you faced life with an attitude of trust till you realized you have to let people earn your trust. It’s the difference between right and privilege. So you make friends in a different way now. And you use a different criteria to label people friends or not. Some survive and some fall by the way side.

You can chose the type of friend you will be. And you can chose the type of friends you will have.

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