The investigative panel set up by the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile –Ife, to probe the alleged sexual harassment of Ms. Monica Osagie by a lecturer in the Department of Accounting, Prof. Richard Akindele, on Tuesday insisted that she should not have legal representation.
Other members denied entry to the venue included a representative of the National Human Rights Commission.
THE PUNCH reported that Osagie was an MBA regular student of the OAU and was said to have gone into hiding since the sex-for-marks scandal broke out.
While the venue of the sitting was still being shrouded in complete secrecy, the panel was said to have insisted that her lawyers would not be allowed inside the venue.
But lawyers to Osagie led by a gender activist and Executive Director of Women Advocates, Research and Documentation Centre, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, protested that they must be allowed inside the venue.
Akiyode-Afolabi stated these in a telephone interview with THE PUNCH.
She said, “The Secretary of the panel came to meet us in front of the OAU Amphitheatre and did not want to disclose the venue. For now, we don’t know where the venue will be and the panel is insisting that lawyers should not follow Monica Osagie into the venue as they don’t want any lawyer to be with them.
“The NHRC is also well represented here as an independent observer. But I have insisted that she won’t go there without her lawyers. But after our protest, they have now agreed that two lawyers from our end should be there. But we don’t know where they are going to sit.”
A letter of invitation dated April 19, 2018, from the Office of the Secretary, Post-Graduate College, said Osagie should appear before the panel on Tuesday.
The letter with Ref. No: ADP 15/16/H/1424 entitled: “Re: Investigative panel on alleged harassment of a female student: Detailed audio recording: Request for the presentation of Miss Osagie Monica Oselode”, was signed by the OAU Deputy Registrar and Post-Graduate College Secretary, Mrs. A.O. Fadeyibi.
The letter read: “I write at the instance of the Provost, Post-Graduate College to invite you to appear before the investigative panel on alleged harassment of a female student detailed in audio recording at its meeting which will come up at 10:00am on Tuesday April 24 2018.
“Please be informed that on arrival, you are required to call the Secretary to the panel to facilitate your appearance before the panel. Thank you.”
Akiyode-Afolabi had raised the alarm that Osagie, “resorted to self help” through audio recording after two lecturers approached by her for intervention disappointed her.
According to her, several efforts made by her to report her predicament to two senior lecturers in the Faculty of Administration were unsuccessful as they both refused to intervene, adding that she therefore resorted to to self- help in documenting her evidence.
Akiyode-Afolabi, a former Public Officer of the OAU Students Union Government, therefore called on the school authorities “not to compromise the reputation of this old and respected university and its responsibility for protecting its students in a bid to covering up the unethical and disgraceful behavior of individual lecturers.