Alexander Okere, Benin
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State on Monday called on the management of the Obafemi Awolowo University to ensure justice in the ongoing probe of alleged sexual harassment by a lecturer in the university.
A post graduate student of the Department of Management and Accounting of the university, Ms. Monica Osagie, had reportedly accused the lecturer, Prof. Richard Akindele, of allegedly demanding sex from her to upgrade her mark.
An audio recording of a conversation, alleged to be between Osagie and Akindele, had gone viral on the Internet. The two have also appeared before the committee set up by the university to investigate the scandal.
But Obaseki commended Osagie for her courage in the ongoing investigation, describing it as “uncommon”.
The governor, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said, “Ms. Osagie’s uncommon bravery, at a time many female students have come to accept sexual harassment as a norm in our educational institutions, is worth commending.
“Obafemi Awolowo University ranks high in moral standard and educational excellence in the country and I urge the university authority to rise to the occasion and defend its hard-earned reputation. Justice should not only be done but must be seen to have been done.”
Obaseki also urged the institution to investigate the issue without fear or favour, adding that his administration was interested in the case.
He said, “The world is watching the university closely to see the way the case will be handled and my administration is equally interested in the matter, as Osagie hails from Ohordua, in the Esan South-East Local Government Area of Edo State.
“Our institutions of higher learning must appreciate that it is a privilege to be saddled with the task of moulding the minds of young ones to whom the future belongs.”
Obaseki, however, called on students to emulate Ms. Osagie by becoming voices against all forms of harassment and oppression in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
He also urged students at all levels of learning to be committed to knowledge acquisition, research and put forward ideas and models that could solve the nation’s developmental challenges.
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