A Nigerian academic guru from the University of Calabar (UNICAL), identified as Cyril Ndifon, is facing allegations of sexual misconduct from female students of the school. Here’s all we know about the matter that has already garnered thousands of reactions from Twitter users under the trending hashtag #NdifonMustGo.

Who is Professor Cyril Ndifon?

Cyril Ndifon: The UNICAL Professor Facing Allegations of Sexual Misconduct

According to information in the institution’s staff directory, “Professor Cyril Osim Ndifon is a Professor of Law at the University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria.” He has held several positions in the institution, including Dean, Faculty of Law; Sub-Dean, Faculty of Law; Head of Department; Chairman, Faculty of Law Graduate Board; and Examination officer.

Professor Cyril Ndifon is also a member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the National Association of Law Teachers, among others.

Why is he trending?

On Monday, August 14, 2023, a Twitter user identified as @ada_mummyya shared a video showing a group of female UNICAL law students, accompanied by a few male counterparts, protesting for the removal of their dean.

The students were seen raising placards with bold inscriptions like “Prof Ndifon, let girls with big breasts breathe, stop suffocating us”, “We are tired of sucking dicks”, “Prof Ndifon must go for our sanity”, “Law girls are not bonanzas, Prof Ndifon should stop grabbing us”, “The faculty of law is not a brothel” and “Enough of law school list manipulation.”

When did the allegations start?

While @ada_mummyya’s video has only just brought the matter to light, an online search of Professor Ndifon’s name returns with a string of articles that link him to allegations of sexual abuse from as far back as 2015.

In a 2016 article, it was reported that Prof Ndifon was accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old year student in his office on August 29, 2015. The incident led to Ndifon’s suspension by the university management. He was only to return to office once he was completely exonerated from the allegations of sexual misconduct.

The aggrieved professor dragged the matter to court, and on September 21, 2016, the National Industrial Court in Calabar, presided over by Justice Eunice Agbakoba, dismissed the suit.

On November 16, 2017, reports that the university management had recalled Professor Ndifon made headlines with pictures of his arrival on the university premises.

Professor Ndifon receives a warm welcome upon reinstatement

Why are the students protesting now?

On January 30, 2023, an article published in the campus news segment of UNICAL’s website announced the re-election of Professor Ndifon as the dean of the faculty of law. According to the release, Ndifon’s tenure is to run for two years, from January 27, 2023, till January 26, 2025.

The re-election didn’t sit well with the students, who are still accusing Professor Ndifon of sexual misconduct and the school authority of attempting a cover-up.


Has this received any public attention?

In December 2022, a civil service organisation, Sacredhearts Gender Protection Initiative, wrote to the UNICAL management, querying the reinstatement and promotion of Professor Ndifon despite allegations of misconduct.

A portion of the letter addressed to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof. Florence Obi, read “…we therefore find it hard to understand the basis for which Ndifon who is under investigation for sexual assault against a female law student was reinstated as a staff of the university and made Dean of the Law Faculty. Is it that the Management of the University of Calabar has no moral standard for measuring or distinguishing right from wrong? 

The group equally vowed to hit the streets and protest the reinstatement of Professor Ndifon.

“Our organization together with other Civil Society groups involved in Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) activities will lead a protest march and advocacy visit to international organizations and foreign embassies in the Federal Capital Territory to call your university management to order.”

A number of Nigerians have also taken to social media in solidarity with the protesting students, calling for the professor’s immediate removal.

UNICAL suspends Professor Ndifon

Following the recent allegations of sexual harassment, the university management on Thursday, August 17, suspended Professor Ndifon.  In a letter signed by the registrar, Mr Gabriel Egbe, the school management expressed reservations about Ndifon’s unsatisfactory response to a query issued to him.

The letter read: “Please refer to our letter Ref UC/REG/DISC.45A dated August 14, 2023, on your alleged violation of the provisions of the extant laws and policies of the university and your response to the said letter which was dated August 16, 2023.

“The vice-chancellor has gone through your written representations and is not satisfied with your explanations. She has therefore directed that you be relieved of your position as the Dean, Faculty of Law and placed on suspension while the matter is referred to a panel that will be set up to investigate these allegations.”

This is a developing story.


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