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Court rejects defense arguments in UNICAL don, lawyer’s sexual harassment case



A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday rejected a “no-case submission” filed by Professor Cyril Ndifon, a suspended professor at the University of Calabar (UNICAL), and his lawyer, Mr. Sunny Anyanwu. Both men are facing charges of sexual misconduct and attempting to pervert the course of justice brought by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

A no-case submission is a legal strategy where the defense argues the prosecution hasn’t presented sufficient evidence to warrant a trial. However, in this case, Justice James Omotosho ruled that the ICPC had presented enough evidence for the case to proceed.

The charges against Professor Ndifon stem from allegations of sexual harassment made by a student. The ICPC also accuses him of attempting to bribe the student to silence her.

The details of the case haven’t been publicly disclosed to protect the alleged victim’s identity. However, the accusations have cast a shadow on UNICAL and sparked national conversations about sexual harassment within Nigerian universities.

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Justice Omotosho adjourned the case until March 6th, where he will rule on a separate application filed by Professor Ndifon’s defense team requesting a variation on his bail conditions.

Ndifon and Anyanwu had, on Feb.19, filed a no-case submission after the ICPC closed its case.

The duo, through their lawyer, Joe Agi, SAN, said there was no evidence adduced by the prosecution on which the court could convict them, insisting that the commission failed to establish a prima facie case against them.

They, therefore, formulated three issues for determination.

These include, “whether the originating charge dated and filed 30th October, 2023 was initiated by due process of law to confer jurisdiction on the honourable court entitling the court to grant an order amending same and if the amended charge filed Jan. 22, is competent to confer jurisdiction on the court.

“Whether from the evidence adduced, a prima facie case has been made out against the defendants as to warrant them entering a defence.

“Whether the case of the prosecution was so damaged under cross examination that no reasonable tribunal will convict on it.”

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