The Governing Council of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Ile-Ife, Osun State, has dismissed Prof. Richard Akindele for alleged involvement in a sex-for-marks scandal.
OAU’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, announced Akindele’s dismissal in a statement yesterday in Ile-Ife.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the vice chancellor, on April 19, confirmed Akindele’s suspension pending the findings of an investigative panel.
Miss Monica Osagie, a student in the Masters of Business programme, had released a recorded telephone conversation, which went viral, in which the lecturer, identified as Akindele, demanded five rounds of sex to enhance her marks.
Ogunbodede said the university’s Senate, at its meeting on June 14, considered the committee’s finding that Akindele had an inappropriate relationship with his student.
The vice chancellor said this was established through their conversation in the audio recording, his reply to the query, the oral evidence and the printed ‘WhatsApp conversations’ tendered before the committee.
He said: “He offered to change Miss Osagie’s purported “33 per cent” result to a pass mark in consideration for sexual favours; this was established in the audio recording which he admitted.
“His claim that Miss Osagie knew that she had passed with a score of ‘45’ but was seeking to score an ‘A’ and that this led to him being sexually harassed by Miss Osagie cannot be supported by any evidence.
“Professor Akindele’s action in requesting for sexual favours from Miss Osagie to change her examination scores was a scandalous behaviour that has brought ridicule to the name of the university and tarnished the reputation of the university, as it portrays the university as an institution where its teachers and examiners trade marks for sexual favours.
“From the evidence, Miss Osagie had no idea that she scored ‘45’, a pass mark, as later claimed by Professor Akindele, although she later found out she did not fail the course.
“Professor Akindele’s claim that he reported Miss Osagie’s ‘harassment’ to his colleagues cannot be supported by any evidence as all his colleagues denied it and one mentioned that she only talked about the matter with him after the audio recording was released over the internet.
“Professor Akindele operated in a position of power and authority over Miss Osagie and as such sexually harassed her.
“Professor Akindele was liable for all the allegations of misconduct levelled against him.”
The vice chancellor said the Senate recommended that Akindele, having been found liable on all the allegations against him, should be dismissed from the services of the university.
“The Council, at its meeting on June 20, having considered the recommendation of Senate, as well as the report of the Joint Committee of Council and Senate, decided that Professor Richard I. Akindele should be dismissed from the services of the university for gross misconduct.
“The university has also taken further steps to ensure the total elimination of Sexual Harassment (SH) in the OAU community.
“The university has a legal duty to prevent sexual and gender-based harassment within the institution and ensure that both men and women are protected from this menace; and thereby provide conducive environment for teaching and learning,” he said.
Ogunbodede noted that to create conducive environment for teaching and learning, the university was creating more awareness and disseminating information on what constitutes sexual harassment within the university.
He said: “OAU has zero tolerance for sexual harassment and as a renowned university will do everything humanly possible to maintain the rules and regulations of the university,” Ogunbodede said.
Miss Osagie’s lawyer, Mrs. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, said it was a victory, not for the student alone but also for other students in Nigerian schools.
She said: “We hope it will be a lesson for other predators. It’s been a tortious journey. We do hope lessons are learnt by all. For the institutions, it’s important that mechanisms are in place to checkmate sexual harassment.
“There should a whistle-blower policy that can protect informants from being further victimised. The school system should be more accessible and sensitive to students’ situations…”
Source: the Nation Newspaper