The Forum of Youth Leaders for a Better Nigeria (FYLBN) has, on Monday, assured Nigerians that justice shall prevail in the ongoing investigation regarding the alleged sexual harassment that took place in the University of Calabar (UNICAL).
This assurance was made by the President of the Forum, Rt. Hon. Rikki Nwajiofor, during a world press conference organized by the forum in conjunction with the National Secretariat of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) and Civil Society Organizations, held on Monday in Abuja.
Commenting on the audio conversation between the Hon. Minister of Women Affairs – Hon. Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye and one of the alleged victims of the said sexual harassment, Hon. Nwajiofor stated that the preliminary findings of the Forum indicate that “the Honorable Minister of Women Affairs is highly interested in total Justice and fair hearing, ab initio “.
Hon. Nwajiofor equally appealed “to mischief makers to stop heating up the polity but join hands in building a better Nigeria of our dream”. The text of the press conference reads;
“All Protocols duly observed.
“Good evening Gentlemen of the Press, fellow Comrades and all the Patriots present.
“Paraphrasing an important quote attributed to a renowned social crusader, Edmund Burke, I dare to say “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. Suffice it to say that silence in the face of an evil or injustice is an indirect allusion and support.
“We received a report regarding an alleged sexual harassment allegedly meted out on some students of the University of Calabar (UNICAL) by the Dean of the institution’s Faculty of Law, Professor Cyril Ndifon. We have been diligently following up with the investigations and fact-findings.
“However, a few days ago, the media was saturated with the news of an audio conversation between the Hon. Minister of Women affairs, Hon. Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye Esq, and one of the said victims of the alleged sexual harassment – the UNICAL Student. According to the media publications, the Hon. Minister of Women Affairs “threatened female students not to speak up against sexual abuses”.
“At the glance of such a published statement, any concerned citizen will wonder why a Minister, whose primary jurisdiction is to protect the interest of women, should be the one threatening the said victims of sexual harassment not to speak up. This kind of unwelcomed feeling made us swing into prompt action of due diligence into the audio conversation between the Hon. Minister of Women Affairs and one of the alleged victims of the said sexual harassment. The below are our preliminary findings:
1.) “The Hon. Minister of Women Affairs, Hon. Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye Esq, stepped into the case with the intention to protect the interest of her primary constituents – the women folk. She opted to take the matter up, at the level of her Ministry, and ensure that those who are involved in sexual harassment of young girls, and women in general, are legally dealt with.
2.) “Having listened to the complete recorded conversation, carefully and unbiasedly, we deciphered that the Hon. Minister of Women Affairs is highly interested in total Justice and fair hearing, ab initio. She assured one of the alleged victims, the student with whom she had the phone conversation, maximum protection as a mother and as the Minister in charge of her affairs, from any assailant and a subsequent absolute restitution. She, however, made the student to understand that justice entails truthfulness and fairness.
3.) “The statement of the Hon. Minister, which was misconstrued as a threat to shut the mouth of the alleged victims, was spurred by her eagerness to ensure that the fight she is about to undertake on behalf of the alleged victims, who are under her primary jurisdiction, is devoid of any form of instigation, vendetta and frame up. Hence her statement; “If your VC makes you to go and lie against somebody, you will go to jail, trust me. I want you to be very careful because your future is at stake. You can’t join anybody and maltreat a fellow human being and equally nobody wants you to be maltreated…”.
“From the afore-cited statement of the Hon. Minister, one could rationally deduce that she is only interested in ensuring that Justice prevails and that anyone who is found guilty shall never escape the wrath of the law.
“In a bid to ensure that Justice prevails, we have decided to double our investigations and fact-finding efforts.
“We are made to understand that the Hon. Minister of Women Affairs is currently in New York for the UN General Assembly (UNGA). On her arrival, we shall have an investigative meeting with the Hon. Minister, the VC of UNICAL and the alleged victims of the sexual harassment to get to the root of the matter and ensure that Justice prevails. If the accused Dean of the Institution’s law faculty is guilty, we shall ensure that he serves as a deterrent to other perpetrators of Sexual harassment. If, however, he is unjustly accused, we shall ensure that all those involved in the plot are vehemently dealt with by the appropriate quarters and agencies.
“We appeal to mischief makers to stop heating up the polity but join hands in building a better Nigeria of our dream. We shall keep updating the media of our findings, in our bid to rid Nigeria of every form of harassment and intimidation in every facet of this nation.
“Gentlemen of the press, fellow Comrades and Patriotic Nigerians, thank you so much for your time and your readiness to ensure that Justice is entrenched in our society and that the Nigeria of our dream is achieved.
“God bless Federal Republic of Nigeria.”