Facts have emerged on how a professor and former head of the department of criminology at the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Adewole Atere, had sex with and impregnated a teenage student of his department, Precious Azuka.
The victim, Azuka, was in her first semester at the university when she met the don in March 2017. She was 16 years old then. The brief meeting was followed by a message of love from the professor through one of his subordinates in the department, Chinedu Abrifor, a PhD holder.
According to both audio and documentary records of evidence exclusively obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, Mr Abrifor simply told Azuka then that she was ‘mature enough’ for Mr Atere.
While appearing before a fact-finding committee set up by the office of the then acting dean of students’ affairs, E.O Adeyemi, Azuka said; “A few days after Dr Abrifor approached me, he accompanied Prof. Atere to my hostel and they took me to their house at Aiyegbaju where I spent the night. I was returned to the hostel by 6 a.m. the following day. This practice continued for weeks.”
The development led to disagreement between Azuka and her boyfriend, Kayode Fasanya. Mr Fasanya, who started dating Azuka, his classmate, in January 2017, quickly broke the relationship as soon as he was aware of the professor’s love affair with his girlfriend.
How the bubble burst
Less than two months into their amorous relationship, Azuka noticed she was not well. Medical test confirmed she was pregnant.
“I opted for abortion instantly but a doctor I saw said he doesn’t do it. So, when I got to the hostel, I took lipton tea and lime which made me to experience serious blood flow. When I didn’t see my menstruation the following months, I didn’t bother. I thought it had cleared,” she told the investigating team.
But by July, Azuka’s physical appearance had indicated she was pregnant. Her story was also on many lips within and outside the hostel.
She said one of her friends, who was staying off-campus, identified simply as Priscilla, took her to an unnamed laboratory official at Oye Ekiti general hospital, a government-owned health facility.
“The laboratory official introduced me to Dr. Dada who eventually helped me out on Wednesday, July 26,” Azuka said.
Because the pregnancy was already about 21 weeks, PREMIUM TIMES learnt the doctor said dilation and curettage (D&C) could no longer be conducted, and thus offered to induce Azuka to labour. “I was asked to return to the hospital as soon as the foetus was expelled.”
On the morning of July 27, 2017, Azuka went into labour and expelled the foetus.
Foetus found by cleaners
As they were busy packing the refuse at the hostel, one of the cleaners found a well wrapped cellophane bag dripping blood. The cleaner reportedly called the attention of her colleagues who noticed the freshness of the item and the need to trace its source.
“It was a Thursday morning and most of the students in the hostel had left for lectures. So it was easy to identify which room still had its occupant around. That was how Azuka was found in the room writhing in pain. She had lost so much blood that she could hardly talk,” a university source who asked not to be named told PREMIUM TIMES.
Azuka was rushed to the university’s clinic where she was placed on admission. She was discharged the following day, July 28, 2017.
Students’ affairs unit sets up fact-finding committee
Following a petition addressed to the university by an Ado-Ekiti-based legal practitioner, Olaolu Ayodele, the acting dean of students’ affairs on August 10, 2017, caused the university’s hostel management committee to set up a fact-finding sub-committee to look into the matter.
The committee had the school’s health centre director, Olawale M.O, as chairman and an administrative officer, Oye campus hostel, Ajewole F, as secretary. Other members were the female hall warden, Bakare L. and the head of maintenance unit, Mr. Adebayo, an engineer.
The sub-committee’s report, which was submitted to the vice-chancellor’s office on August 14, 2017, was accompanied by a memo from the acting dean of students’ affairs, E. O Adeyemi.
The report reads in part; “In the cause of our investigation, we gathered that after Azuka had been discharged, on August 2, 2017, Dr. Abrifor called her and Kayode Fasanya for a meeting in his office at the faculty. On getting there, Dr. Abrifor asked them to meet him at the mini campus junction by 6 p.m. same day where they were driven to Ifaki Ekiti for another meeting.
“At the meeting, Azuka said Dr. Abrifor accused Kayode Fasanya of impregnating her, and this led to an argument which was later settled when Dr. Abrifor made a call to his wife and asked her to calculate conception from March to July. She did and said it would be between 21 to 22 weeks, which was exactly what the test result claimed.”
The report stated that the lecturer immediately apologised to Fasanya but asked him to claim responsibility to protect Prof. Atere’s image. “He also promised that the money spent on the abortion would be refunded, and that Fasanya would be rewarded handsomely including good academic grades.”
According to Azuka, Mr Abrifor called Mr Fasanya again at about 8 a.m. the following day that he should come with Azuka to their house at Aiyegbaju but Azuka was indisposed and so could not go.
The report added; “When Fasanya got to Aiyegbaju, he met Dr. Abrifor and Prof. Shola Omotola of political science department. They repeated the request that Fasanya should claim the pregnancy but he told them he would think about it. They also said a meeting with the director of administration on the campus, Mr. Odusanya, had been scheduled for Tuesday, August 8, when all parties involved would sign an agreement that would be binding. But according to her, this meeting never held.”
Meanwhile, Azuka said on the evening of August 10, Mr Abrifor sent her N20,000 through Adeleke Abiodun, another student of the department. She said the doctor charged N13,000 for the abortion but she deposited N11,500 and was to pay N1,500 if she had returned for medications as scheduled.
In the report, the committee said Mr Fasanya also gave the same statement when he appeared before it.
The acting DSA in his memo advised the management to set up another panel that would be empowered to invite Messrs Atere, Omotola and Abrifor for questioning on the matter.
He also recommended that “appropriate disciplinary action should be taken against anyone found guilty to forestall future occurrence and redeem the confidence of both the students and the general public on the university.”
University sets up another probe panel
Following the alleged ‘questionable’ silence of the vice-chancellor, Kayode Soremekun, on the matter, some disgruntled members of the university’s Senate raised the matter at one of the Senate meetings. They reportedly accused the VC of an attempt to sweep the matter under the carpet.
In response, the university set up another panel headed by a former dean of the institution’s faculty of education, Solomon Olorundare, a professor.
Mr Olorundare, who has since returned to the University of Ilorin, was at the time on sabbatical leave at the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES, Mr Olorundare said his committee met with all concerned parties and submitted its report to the vice-chancellor.
Asked about his committee’s verdict, he said it would not be proper to spill the beans.
“We have since submitted our report and I am back to my university, UNILORIN. I think the university should be reached for the report of our findings and recommendations.”
Alleged randy lecturer abruptly resigned from FUOYE
Rather than waiting for the outcome of the probe, PREMIUM TIMES learnt that Mr Atere suddenly resigned his appointment.
The manner with which he resigned has again raised fresh dusts on the campus, with some of his colleagues accusing him of abscondment and others saying he was protected by the vice-chancellor.
Meanwhile, PREMIUM TIMES is aware the embattled professor is now a lecturer at the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.
Why we couldn’t sanction Atere –FUOYE VC
In a telephone interview with our reporter, the vice-chancellor of FUOYE, Kayode Soremekun, said since Mr Atere had left the service of his institution, he could no longer bring any charge against him.
He said the existing law of the university at the time Mr Atere left permitted resignation without notice.
“I had no power to stop him when he tendered his resignation letter because the law allowed him then. We have just reviewed our law to ensure that appropriate steps are taken before anyone could retire or resign. In fact, we have submitted it to the governing council and what we are waiting for is the approval,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.
The VC also claimed he stopped further action when the victim’s parents said they were not interested in prosecution.
“They sent one reverend sister to me that we should lay the matter to rest. So what do I do in that circumstance? The decision was theirs I think,” Mr Soremekun said.
The vice-chancellor also denied receiving any report of any subcommittee from the office of the then acting dean of students’ affairs.
“I am not aware of any report by any committee set up by any dean. I have told you why we could not act. And if I may ask, why are you just bringing up this issue at this time? This matter happened two years ago now,” Mr Soremekun said.
Documents counter VC
Contrary to the vice-chancellor’s claim, the document containing the university’s conditions of service, which was approved in 2015 by the institution’s governing council, clearly spells out conditions to be met when exiting the system.
According to the document, item ii under the subject of ‘resignation of appointment’ reads as follows; “A professor or other officer of equivalent grade not a principal officer as defined by the Act unless he is appointed for a specific contractual period, may terminate his appointment after having given to the council not less than six month notice in writing of his intention to do so. In exceptional cases, vice-chancellor may waive part or all of such notice and shall thereafter report to the council.”
Sources within the university system said Mr Atere’s case did not qualify for such ‘exceptional cases’ intended by the clause.
“In fact, Prof. Atere erred by his abrupt resignation and his action qualified for abscondment,” one source said.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES, Azuka, who is now in 300 level, reiterated that Mr Atere was responsible for her pregnancy.
She, however, declined further comments, saying all she wanted at this time was to graduate.
She said she has since reconciled with Mr Fasanya and that they are back as lovers.
“I don’t want to talk about this matter again. I think I have survived it and I have moved on.”
Mr Fasanya could not be reached for comments as his telephone line was not available as at the time of filing this report.
It isn’t true – Atere
The accused lecturer has said the allegation is not true but refused to explain his own side of the matter. When called by our reporter, Mr Atere simply denied his involvement, saying; “That is not true. It is not true.”
But rather than taking time to explain further, he simply hung up the phone, and has since refused to pick our reporter’s call.
On his part, Mr Abrifor said he could not say anything on the matter. He added that for him to talk on the matter, he would need a letter of approval from the vice-chancellor as the representative of his employer.
Meanwhile, in one of Mr Abrifor’s recorded conversations with Mr Fasanya after sending Azuka N20,000, he had expressed worry over the committee’s enquiry into the matter.
Medical doctor doubts his involvement
The medical doctor at the Oye-Ekiti general hospital who allegedly assisted Azuka to abort the pregnancy, Mr Dada, said he was not sure he saw any patient called Precious Azuka on July 26, 2017.
During a telephone conversation with our reporter, Mr Dada said he would need to trace the hospital’s record to ascertain his involvement.
“I am not sure aborting pregnancy is my case. The only thing is that when I get to office I will check record if I ever had any encounter with such patient at all. I am Dr. Dada of general hospital, Oye-Ekiti but we don’t do abortion at the hospital,” he said.