A Federal High Court sitting in Calabar has ruled that the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has the right to investigate a former Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Calabar, Prof. Cyril Ndifon, who was accused of raping a 20-year-old 400-level student in his office in 2015.
The ICPC disclosed this in a statement by its spokesperson, Mrs. Rasheedat Okoduwa, on Saturday.
Ndifon had filed a suit seeking to restrain the commission from investigating the alleged offence of demanding for sexual gratification from a female student of the university.
However, Justice I. E. Ekwo who delivered judgment on Thursday maintained that it was within the purview of the 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 Ndifon sought to restrain the ICPC, having been exonerated by the said report, noted that other issues, which were within the competence of the 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.
A final-year law student had petitioned the 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.
Last year, the National Industrial Court of Nigeria in Calabar, Cross River State, validated Ndifon’s suspension from the faculty over alleged sexual assault.
Following the development, authorities of UNICAL suspended the dean. The suspension was to last until he was completely exonerated from the allegations.
Not satisfied with the suspension, the professor of law had dragged the university authorities to court in a suit no. NICN/CA/01/2016, claiming, among others, that the institution had no power to suspend him beyond the statutory three months under the University of Calabar Act, LFN, 2004.
But in a judgment delivered on September 21, 2016 the National Industrial Court, presided over by Justice Eunice Agbakoba, dismissed the suit.
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