• School ignored first complaint against randy Prof
• Probe panel never invited her
Kate Halim; Clement Adeyi
The student at the centre of a sex for mark scandal rocking the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Ms Monica Osagie has opened up to defend her decision to record her telephone conversation with her lecturer, Prof Richard Akindele of the Department of Management and Accounting, who was demanding from her five rounds of sex in exchange for exam marks.
Her reaction is coming barely 24 hours after the school authority accepted the recommendation of a probe panel set up to investigate the veracity of a leaked audio tape containing the sex-for-mark conversation between the duo. As a result, Prof Akindele has been asked to proceed on an indefinite suspension.
According to the panel report, only the embattled lecturer honoured its invitation while the lady neither showed up before the panel to defend her case nor wrote a formal complaint to the institution to defend the leaked audio. “We will like to reiterate that OAU will continue to do everything legally and morally acceptable in pursuance of its avowed commitment to zero tolerance for sexual harassment, intimidation and, or coercion,” the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof Eyitope Ogunbodede, said in a statement.
Speaking through Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Founder, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, a non-profit organization, to Saturday Sun on Friday, Ms Monica Osetobe Osagie who gave the activist the mandate to speak for her on the matter said she hasn’t done anything wrong and is unapologetic about what she had done. “I think society should focus on what really happened, and whether such happens in higher institutions of learning and not about what she did.”
Afolabi noted that the university did not at any point invite Miss Osagie to face the panel. She challenged the university to bring evidence that she was formally invited by any means to appear before the panel. “Before the matter went viral, the university was aware of it and they did not do anything. If the case did not go viral, the university probably would have not done anything and it would have been swept under the carpet. “I think that we should focus more on whether the act of that professor amounts to sexual harassment, whether it was a breach of the school’s code of conduct, whether it was a breach of terms of contract for lecturers or whether he abused the relationship that should exist between lecturers and students.” Afolabi stated that the university should be responsible and responsive in addressing issues of sexual harassment because Miss Osagie is ready to come out whenever the university extends a proper invitation to her, adding that it appears the school wants to protect its reputation at the expense of the young lady.
“Let the university do what they are supposed to do by giving her proper invitation. They have all her records because she is their student. The panel has never invited her, so when the panel invites her today, she would come.” Afolabi further noted that even though Miss Osagie made the recording to serve as evidence against her lecturer, “she didn’t release the audio. She got the evidence and it was given to one or two people when she was seeking for help. So definitely one of them released the audio, and she cannot be blamed for it.”
On whether Miss Osagie has been threatened, Afolabi stated that there has not been any threat made against her. “We are not comfortable with the university saying they invited her when they didn’t invite her. Her name is already out, the whole world is aware so we cannot say because of security and safety, we won’t allow the truth to prevail.”
Meanwhile, the OAU Chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities has expressed satisfaction with the suspension of Professor Akindele. The Chairman of the union, Adeola Egbedokun in a statement in Osogbo, commended the university management for the prompt action taken based on the recommendations of the investigative panel that found the professor culpable in the interim report it submitted to the University authority on Thursday.
Egbedokun, however, urged members of the union to always adhere strictly to the code of conduct guiding their appointment in the university as they carry out their lawful activities.