The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has announced its intention to conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations of sexual assault leveled against Prof. Cyril Ndifon, the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Calabar. In a press release issued on Saturday, the legal body disclosed that its National Executive Committee (NEC) had unanimously decided to initiate a probe into the allegations of professional misconduct attributed to Prof. Ndifon. This decision was reached during the recent monthly meeting overseen by NBA President Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, SAN.
As the paramount organization representing legal professionals in Nigeria, the NBA emphasized that the decision was made with the participation of all National Officers present at the meeting. The association firmly asserted that the accusations raised against Prof. Ndifon warranted a thorough examination.
The allegations of sexual misconduct came to the forefront when female law students of the university organized a protest on the campus, accusing Prof. Ndifon of sexually molesting them. Responding to this development, the NBA, through a statement endorsed by its National Publicity Secretary, Akorede Lawal, revealed that an ad-hoc committee had been established to undertake a comprehensive inquiry into the allegations.
Furthermore, the NBA has also expressed its request for additional details concerning a purported attempt to bribe a judge who is currently presiding over petitions arising from the recent National Assembly and State House Assembly elections in Kano State.
In addition to the aforementioned matters, the NBA has taken steps to deal with other instances of professional misconduct within its ranks. Notably, the association has initiated proceedings against Mr. Hudu Yunusa-Ari, the suspended State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Adamawa State, before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC). The NBA’s actions are in response to allegations related to Mr. Yunusa-Ari’s conduct.
Moreover, the NBA has raised concerns about Miss Ifunanya Excel Grant, a young lawyer affiliated with its Aba Branch, who is known to partake in the use of marijuana and has gained notoriety as “the baddest lawyer” on social media platforms.
The statement read: “The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has resolved to investigate the allegations of sexual assault against the suspended Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Calabar, Prof. Cyril Ndifon.
“This decision was reached by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NBA at her recent monthly meeting presided over by the NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, OON SAN and which had all National Officers of the association in attendance.
“The NBA NEC subsequently impaneled an ad-hoc committee comprising the 1st Vice President of the NBA, Mrs. Linda Rose Bala, the Assistant General Secretary of the NBA, Mr. Daniel Kip, Chairperson of NBA Women’s Forum and the Chairman of the NBA Calabar Branch, to investigate the allegations against the University Don.
“You may also be aware of the recent media report of the attempted bribe of Justice Flora Azinge of the National Assembly and State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Kano.
“The NBA has, by a letter dated 16th August 2023, formally requested his lordship to avail the NBA of further details in this regard to enable investigation into this allegation.
“In a similar vein, the National Officers also deliberated at their earlier monthly meeting over the unbecoming conduct of some members of the legal profession. Following the resolutions of the National Officers, the NBA has filed petitions at the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) against Mr. Hudu Yunusa-Ari, the suspended Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Ifunanya Excel Grant, a young lawyer of Aba Branch wildly known as ‘the baddest lawyer’ on social media.
“Mr. Yunusa-Ari was petitioned over his role in illegally declaring the result of the supplementary 2023 gubernatorial election in Adamawa State while votes were still being counted. While the complaints against Miss Ifunanya centred on her social media notoriety of posting pictures and videos of herself unclad and smoking marijuana.
“While it is important to underscore the fact that none of the lawyers petitioned or being investigated is deemed guilty of professional misconduct until the LPDC hands down its decisions after a fair trial, the NBA President has emphasized the need for lawyers to continue to be of best conduct wherever they find themselves, and he reiterated that the present NBA leadership will not relent in ridding the profession of the very few bad eggs that may be found,” the statement added.