September 14, 2015.
The Commissioner of Police,
Cross River State Command,
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
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”.
- 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;
- 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.
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- Professor Ndifon has not been accused of anything that is not within his perverse and perverted nature.
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.
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.
On the strength of the foregoing, we earnestly and respectfully urge on you the following demands:
- 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.
- That you liaise with the Nigerian Law School to investigate Prof. Cyril Osim Ndifon for perjury and to prosecute him for same.
- 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.
The Law Class of 1997,
University of Calabar
- Adamade, Odey Simon
- Adula, Sampson Adula
- Agi, Anne Uruegi
- Ajara, Michael Ayambem
- Akpanke, Richard
- Akunefo, Tony
- Amadi, Perpetua
- Aniefiok, Tom Sunday
- Ariku, Tom
- Attoe, Bassey
- Damba, CC
- Effiom, Nnanke
- Ekeng, Edem
- Ekpo, Philip
- Elezuo, Eziaku
- Eyo, Glory
- Ibia, Bassey
- Igboanugo, Winifred
- Inaku, John
- Martins, Gloria
- Mbu-Ogar, Chris Njar
- Nsidibe, Brooks.
- Ntui, Panam
- Nuesiri, Daniel
- Nwosu, Philip
- Ofoha, John-Bede
- Ondale, Innocent Ondale
- Sokolo, Solomon
- Ulaeto, Nelson
- Unoh, Emenobazi Usetu
- Urubulam, Daniel Iyo
- The Solicitor General, Ministry of Justice, Cross River State
- The Director of Public Prosecutions, Ministry of Justice, Cross River State
- The Inspector General of Police, Louis Edet House, Abuja.
- Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 6 Headquarters, Calabar,
- Director-General, Department of State Security, National Headquarters, Abuja
- The Vice Chancellor, University of Calabar, Calabar
- The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja
- The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Abuja
- The National President, Nigerian Bar Association
- The Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Calabar Branch, Calabar
- The Chairman, Council of Legal Education, Abuja
- The Director-General, Nigerian Law School, Abuja
- The Chairman, Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Committee, Abuja
- FIDA, Abuja