Court Dismisses Suspended UNICAL Professor, Lawyer’s No-case Submission

Cyril ndifon

A Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja, on Wednesday, dismissed the no-case submission filed by Prof. Cyril Ndifon and his lawyer, Mr Sunny Anyanwu, against the charge by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

Justice James Omotosho, in a ruling, held that the evidence led by the prosecution constituted a prima facie case against the duo.

Justice Omotosho, therefore, ordered Ndifon, the suspended Dean of Faculty of Law at the University of Calabar (UNICAL), and Anyanwu to enter their defence.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ndifon and Anyanwu had, on February 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.”

But the commission, in opposition, filed a counter affidavit on Feb. 23, praying the court to dismiss the application.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ndifon was, on Jan. 25, re-arraigned alongside Anyanwu on an amended four-count charge bordering on alleged sexual harassment and attempt to perverse the cause of justice.

Anyanwu, who is one of the lawyers in the defence, was joined in the amended charge filed on Jan. 22 by the ICPC on allegation that he called TKJ, the star witness, on her mobile telephone during the pendency of the charge against Ndifon to threaten her.

The anti-corruption lawyer, Osuobeni Akponimisingha, had, on Feb. 14, announced the closure of their case after calling four witnesses, including a female diploma student identified as TKJ.

Delivering the ruling on Wednesday, Justice Omotosho formulated two issues for determination.

These include, “whether the court has requisite jurisdiction to hear and determine the suit with respect to provisions of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

“And whether the prosecution has made out a prima facie case against the defendant.”

He said the issue of jurisdiction is a threshold that must be decided as soon as possible.

According to him, jurisdiction is the power by which a court of law acts; it fuels the authority of the court, and where it is lacking, the labour of the court will be in vain.


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