The Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar (UniCal), Prof. Florence Obi, says she has no relationship with the President of the Law Students Association of Nigeria (LAWSON), UniCal chapter, Mr Benedict Otu.
Obi said this during an interactive session with newsmen in her office on Monday.
She was reacting to the allegation that she sponsored the protest by some law students of the university against the suspended Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof. Cyril Ndifon.
Ndifon was on August 15 accused by the protesters of sexual harassment and other violations.
The university authorities responded by setting up a panel to investigate the allegations.
The matter, however, took a twist, with the vice chancellor now being accused in some quarters of sponsoring the protest because of her relationship with the LAWSON president.
It was reported that both of them hail from Boki Local Government Area of Cross River.
In a reaction, the vice chancellor described the allegation a reaction as “a cheap way of diverting attention away from the real issues or looking for an escape route while serious investigation is on-going”.
She said: “I come from Bansan Osokom clan in Boki Local Government Area, while the LAWSON president comes from Bawu Kakwagom.
“I have been in this university for 33 years and he is in his fourth year.
“We didn’t know each other, until the day he came to address us as management over the protest.
“Since then, he has been coming, which makes it easy for me to pick his face today.
“I wasn’t a party to his emergence as LAWSON president, I am not in the Faculty of Law; people can carry out their independent investigations to see if we are related.”
According to Obi, the law students, on their own, wrote and submitted a petition and protested against the dean, who had been suspended to give way for investigations.
She said that those who had testified before the panel on both sexual harassment and other violations were not prompted by anyone.
She also said that the sustained orientation of her administration in the last couple of years had created an atmosphere of confidence among the students.
Obi said that her administration had nothing personal against Ndifon other than her commitment to seeing that the university achieved its vision of producing quality graduates.
She called on the public to be patient with the investigative panel.
She said they had accepted the request from agencies and groups, such as the Public Complaints Commission, Nigeria Bar Association and Nigeria Police, among others, to appear at the panel as observers.