From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
A youth group, Forum of Youth Leaders for a Better Nigeria, has risen in defence of the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, over her alleged plan to intervene in ongoing investigation against a lecturer in University of Calabar who was accused of sexual harassment.
The Youth Group, in a statement, on Tuesday, said the statement attributed to the Minister was misconstrued, hence was being pushed out wrongly by mischief makers.
The Minister was reportedly heard in a trending phone conversation threatening female students of University of Calabar (UNICAL) with consequences including imprisonment if they continued to pursue the case of sexual harassment against the suspended Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof. Cyril Ndifon.
Hon. Rikki Nwajiofor, President, Forum Of Youth Leaders For A Better Nigeria, in a statement, said they have listened to the complete voice call recordings carefully and unbiasedly, and realized that the Minister was misunderstood.
Nwajiofor said the Minister, in the phone conversation, assured one of the alleged victims, the student with whom she had the phone conversation, of maximum protection as a mother and as the Minister in charge of women affairs, from any assailant and a subsequent absolute restitution.
He maintained that the Minister had stepped into the case with the intention to protect the interest of her primary constituents, the women folk, against what was being pushed out in some sections of the media, and she opted to take the matter up and ensure that those involved in the alleged sexual harassment of young girls, and women in general, are legally dealt with.
He explained that the statement of the Minister, which was obviously misconstrued as a threat to shut the mouth of the alleged victims, was spurred by her eagerness to ensure that the fight she was about to undertake on behalf of the alleged victims, who are under her primary jurisdiction was devoid of any form of instigation, vendetta and frame up.
“One could rationally deduce that the Minister was only interested in ensuring that justice prevailed, and that anyone found guilty never escaped the wrath of the law. However, in a bid to ensure that justice prevails, we have decided to double our investigations and fact-finding efforts.”
He appealed to “mischief” makers to stop heating up the polity but join hands in building a better Nigeria, promising to keep updating the media of their findings in a bid to rid Nigeria of every form of sexual harassment and intimidation in every facet of this nation.
“We shall soon have an investigative meeting with the Minister, the Vice Chancellor of UNICAL and the alleged victims of the sexual harassment soon 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. But it otherwise, we shall ensure that those involved in the plot are vehemently dealt with by the appropriate quarters and agencies,” he said.
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