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Unical management has no vested interest in Dean’s suspension – Vice Chancellor



University of Calabar

Prof. Florence Obi, Vice Chancellor (VC) of the University of Calabar, (Unical), has disclosed that the management of the institution had no vested interest in the suspension of Prof. Cyril Ndifon, former Dean of the Faculty of Law.
Obi made this known in a press briefing on Monday in Calabar, following allegations that some senior members of staff of the institution wanted the professor out.

It would be recalled that Ndifon was on Aug. 17 suspended by the institution after he responded to a query given to him by the school management.

The query followed allegations of high handedness, improper behaviour towards female students, extortion, and unequal treatment among others.

The VC said, following the response to the query from the former Dean over the allegations leveled against him by staff and students of the faculty of law, they were left with no other option other than to set up an investigative panel.

She said the panel, which followed the public service rules, would involve some staff of the faculty, the institution’s alumni, Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, (FCCPC), and police among others.


“On Thursday Aug. 10, some law students led by their president came to my office to see me on some alleged improprieties going-on in their faculty and dropped a formal petition.

“Based on the issues that were raised by the students, the management decided to meet with senior academics in the faculty and while we were having the said meeting on Aug. 14, we were informed that some students were protesting.

“We granted the students audience and they raised issues that bordered on accountability, abuse of office, extortion, sexual harassment and many others”, she said, alleging that sexual harassment gained more prominence in the public space.

She assured the students that the allegations would be looked into but the meeting with the senior staff of the faculty that continued later, revealed many other allegations not touched by the protesting students.

According to her, the management resolved with the staff of the faculty of law on the need for some basic changes to be effected in the faculty to prevent what they termed as the overbearing influence of the Dean in the faculty.


“Some of the immediate decisions we took was setting up a committee on student mobilisation to law school because the students had alleged that the Dean was being selective and using female students as bait.

“We also mandated the committee to look at the list of law school students that had been sent by the former Dean and if need be, the list will be recalled.

“While we removed two examination officers from the faculty and set-up a vetting committee following allegations of result manipulations, we also set up a student project committee that will be assigning projects and grading.

“This follows allegations that the former Dean was in the habit of selecting only female students as his supervisees thereby making them vulnerable,” he said.

She maintained that the management had ordered a compilation and submission of list of students extorted by the faculty, to be refunded following allegations of extortion of students in the faculty, among other weighty allegations.


While adding that the management would not fold its hands and accept ugly scenerios in the institution, both the students and staff who had alleged and the accused former Dean would be given the opportunity to defend themselves before the panel.


Diphtheria: Children at risk as 7,202 cases are confirmed in Nigeria



A staggering 7,202 cases of diphtheria, a highly contagious bacterial infection that can be fatal without treatment, were confirmed in Nigeria last week.

The outbreak has been particularly severe among children under 14, with three-quarters of cases (73.6%) in this age group.

Most cases have been recorded in Kano state, Nigeria’s second most populous state. In the past three months, there have been 453 deaths from diphtheria in Nigeria.

Diphtheria is a vaccine-preventable disease, but low vaccination rates in Nigeria have made the outbreak possible. Only 42% of children under 15 in Nigeria are fully protected from diphtheria.

Diphtheria symptoms begin with a sore throat and fever. In severe cases, the bacteria produce a toxin that can block the airway, causing difficulty breathing and swallowing. The toxin can also spread to other body parts, causing heart kidney problems and nerve damage.


Save the Children is launching a wide-scale health response in the three most impacted states of Kano, Yobe, and Katsina. The organization is deploying expert health and supply chain staff to help overstretched clinics detect and treat diphtheria cases and to support mass vaccination campaigns.

However, Save the Children warns that a mass vaccination campaign will only be successful if the vaccine shortage is urgently addressed.

Severe shortages in Nigeria of the required vaccine and the antitoxin needed to treat the disease mean that the situation could continue to escalate, placing many children at risk of severe illness and death.

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WHO releases $16m to tackle cholera, says Director-General



The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released 16 million dollars from the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies to tackle cholera.

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said this during an online news conference.

Ghebreyesus said that the organisation was providing essential supplies, coordinating the on the ground response with partners, supporting countries to detect, prevent and treat cholera, and informing people how to protect themselves.

“To support this work, we have appealed for 160 million dollars, and we have released more than 16 million dollars from the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies.

“But the real solution to cholera lies in ensuring everyone has access to safe water and sanitation, which is an internationally recognized human right,” he said.


According to him, in the previous week, WHO published new data showing that cases reported in 2022 were more than double those in 2021.

He said that the preliminary data for 2023 suggested was likely to be even worse.

“So far, 28 countries have reported cases in 2023 compared with 16 during the same period in 2022.

“The countries with the most concerning outbreaks right now are Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq and Sudan.

“Significant progress has been made in countries in Southern Africa, including Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, but these countries remain at risk as the rainy season approaches,” Ghebreyesus said.


According to him, the worst affected countries and communities are poor, without access to safe drinking water or toilets.

He said that they also face shortages of oral cholera vaccine and other supplies, as well as overstretched health workers, who are dealing with multiple disease outbreaks and other health emergencies.

On COVID-19, Ghebreyesus said that as the northern hemisphere winter approaches, the organisation continued to see concerning trends.

He said that among the relatively few countries that report them, both hospitalisations and ICU admissions have increased in the past 28 days, particularly in the Americas and Europe.

WHO boss said that meanwhile, vaccination levels among the most at-risk groups remained worryingly low.


“Two-thirds of the world’s population has received a complete primary series, but only one-third has received an additional, or “booster” dose.

“COVID-19 may no longer be the acute crisis it was two years ago, but that does not mean we can ignore it,” he said.

According to him, countries invested so much in building their systems to respond to COVID-19.

He urged countries to sustain those systems, to ensure people can be protected, tested and treated for COVID-19 and other infectious threats.

“That means sustaining systems for collaborative surveillance, community protection, safe and scalable care, access to countermeasures and coordination,” he said.

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