Fresh facts have emerged on why the management of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Oyo State, on Friday, September 11, terminated the appointment of a chief lecturer and former chairperson of the institution’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Kelani Ajadi.
Prior to his sack, Mr. Ajadi had been placed on an indefinite suspension since 2019 which lasted 17 months. While on suspension, the lecturer was paid half of his salary.
Investigations by PREMIUM TIMES revealed that Mr. Ajadi, a lecturer at the department of urban and regional planning, faculty of environmental studies, reportedly sexually harassed 31-year-old Modinat Balogun. Ms Balogun was popularly known as Nifemi on the campus.
In some recorded telephone conversations, which went viral in 2019, and which were obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, the lecturer had engaged in altercations with a woman over the sexual harassment allegation.
The woman, known as Mrs Bello, and later found to be the female student’s aunt, had threatened on the phone to expose the lecturer.
“My daughter said you have been sleeping with her, yet you failed her twice. I have almost killed her, and I’m coming to the school on Monday to let the whole world know the type of lecturer you are…” Mrs Bello threatened in the clip.
Meanwhile, in another recording, the same lecturer’s voice is heard confiding what transpired between him and the female student in a woman who was later identified as Ms Bunmi. The latter is said to be a policewoman reportedly attached to the special investigation bureau located within the police headquarters, Eleyele, in Ibadan.
In the audio recording, the lecturer confided in the policewoman that the female student was her girlfriend but accused her of transferring N100,000 from his account. He sought the assistance of the officer in getting her arrested.
Mr. Ajadi, who did not deny the contents of the audio recordings, told our reporter that his phone was stolen in 2018, and that the contents shared via social media might have been doctored.
According to the polytechnic’s spokesperson, Adewole Soladoye, the embarrassment the development caused the institution had informed the management’s decision to set up both an investigative panel and a disciplinary committee to look into the matter.
“This matter had been on for over a year. It took this long so that the truth could be unraveled, and at the end of the day, the lecturer was found guilty,” Mr Soladoye told this newspaper on the phone.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by the polytechnic’s registrar, Modupe Fawale, a copy of which PREMIUM TIMES obtained, noted that a letter announcing the lecturer’s sack was dated September 15.
According to the registrar, the letter of termination of appointment, which was addressed to Mr Ajadi, had read in part; “You will recall that you were engaged in inappropriate behaviour and a poorly managed relationship with your former student. These resulted in embarrassing and tarnishing the image of your employer, The Polytechnic, Ibadan (TPI).
“You will also recall your responses and appearances before the investigation panel and senior staff disciplinary committee that looked into the above matters. After a careful consideration of the issues above, the governing council found you guilty as your activities amount to misconduct.
“The governing council, therefore, approved the termination of your appointment with effect from Friday, September 11, 2020.”
But Mr Ajadi has denied the allegation and vowed to challenge the decision in court. He told this newspaper on the phone that he had already briefed his lawyer.
How it all started
According to the student, her trouble started as soon as Mr Ajadi was appointed her project supervisor in the 2015/2016 academic session. She said even after consenting to his alleged “persistent sexual demand,” the lecturer allegedly continued to frustrate her, “so that our amorous relationship could continue unending.”
Having failed to complete her project for about two sessions, Ms Balogun disclosed that the lecturer,again, in 2018 agreed to let her go, “as long as I cooperated.”
She said; “So, one day he helped me to print my questionnaire and said I should bring them to his quarters in the night. But on that day, I went to the hospital for a toothache that was disturbing me and I told him I would not be able to make it on that day, but my lecturer begged me and insisted I should come.
“In fact, that night, he came to pick me at the school gate. But the pain persisted and I begged him to just check my work and should allow me to sleep. But in the middle of the night he insisted he must sleep with me.”
Ms Balogun disclosed that at a stage he pushed Mr. Kelani to the wall forcefully and she had thought the man had passed out. “But as soon as he recovered, he continued to disturb me, begging me to allow him sleep with me.”
She said she was shocked at the nonchalant attitude shown by the lecturer concerning her toothache and demanded that he should give her N100,000.
“I wanted to use the money to scare him, but surprisingly he agreed to pay. So I gave him my account but because I was using a student account, I couldn’t receive up to N100,000,” she said.
As a way out, the student said she insisted the money should be sent to her cousin, Oluwatosin Ayanmo’s Guaranty Trust Bank account. “He said he had sent it but I said there was no way I could confirm from the account owner that night, and that nothing would happen between us until morning when it is confirmed.”
She said when the lecturer insisted, she ran out of the room and moved to the sitting room and locked the door against the lecturer.
“I slept on the couch in the sitting room that night, but by early in the morning when he was going to the mosque, Mr. Ajadi forced the door open and said I should confirm with the owner of the account before he came back. So he locked the door against me and left for the mosque,” she said.
She said she quickly took the backdoor to escape. “I quickly ran home in Lagos, and narrated the whole experience. And that was what caused the telephone conversation between my “mum” and Mr Ajadi.”
The police connection
The student said the lecturer lodged a complaint at a police station and the bank was informed of the transaction, leading to “Pay no debit (PND)” order placed on the account.
She said the account owner could not withdraw below N100,000 from the account. “But because we aren’t interested in the money, we were not bothered.”
However, on April 27, 2019, Ms Balogun was arrested in Ibadan allegedly by officers from the special unit at Eleyele, where she said she was remanded till May 2, 2019, when she was charged to court.
“In fact, with a single underwear, I had my menstruation for more than two days while I was in their custody. I insisted I did not steal his money and narrated the whole story, but no pity until a Good Samaritan lawyer appeared for me,” she said.
According to Ms Balogun’s lawyer -Ola Adeosun, an Ibadan-based human rights activist, his client was charged before Magistrate Giwa Babalola of Magistrates Court 5, Iyaganku.
The lawyer said; “We immediately filed a no case submission in the court because we believed no prima facie case had been established against the student.”
He said though the court overruled his submission and advised his client to open defence, the ruling has been appealed at a high court in the city.
Mr Adeosun said the court sat last on February 12, but since the coronavirus outbreak, he said no date has been fixed for the matter.
Management victimising me -Lecturer
In his reaction to the sack, Mr. Ajadi said that he is being victimised by the institution’s management over his position as a union leader.
In a telephone interview with our reporter, Mr. Ajadi said that he has documents to back his claim but insisted he could not transmit them to the newspaper electronically.
He said; “I cannot tell you that the recordings being circulated are entirely mine. The reason is because I lost my phone in 2018 and I reported at a police station. So by 2019 I was surprised to see the recordings being played around. So, who said they have not doctored it?”
He said that his lawyer is already preparing to file the matter in court, saying he will fight the decision to a logical conclusion.
But the polytechnic’s public relations officer, Mr. Soladoye, said the institution took the step to save its image and assure anyone harassed or molested “whether students or staff or any of the members of the community” of adequate protection.