The Ekiti State Chapter of the International Federation of Women
Lawyers, FIDA, has called for the arrest and prosecution of a member of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Dare Pelemo, for alleged sexual harassment and assault of one Mercy Ilesanmi.
Mr. Pelemo, who represents Ekiti East Constituency 2, was accused of indecently handling the breast of Mrs. Ilesanmi on September 6, at the premises of the house of assembly complex.
He was said to have sent thugs after her, after she raised the alarm over his conduct, beating her and inflicting injuries on her.
Mrs. Ilesanmi, a widow, while speaking to journalists in Ado-Ekiti, said the brutality on her took place in the office of the Majority Leader, Tunji Akinyele, where she had gone to lodge a complaint on the alleged sexual harassment.
She said the hoodlums beat her up and also tore her clothes.
“I came to visit the honourable member representing my constituency, Hon. Samuel
Omotoso but I met his absence,” she said.
“On my way out, I met Hon. Dare Pelemo and we exchanged pleasantries. Immediately, he fondled my breasts and I asked him what was the meaning of that, I am a married woman for that matter and I don’t like how he touched my breast.
“He now said that I am an enemy of the government, that I am not supposed to come to the Assembly. I now asked him that, is that the reason why you are touching my breasts, a married woman for that matter?
“I went to report the matter to Hon. Akinyele and I met the Clerk in Hon. Akinyele’s office with two other visitors with him. He was on the phone but I waited.
“Before I knew what was happening, Pelemo came in with some miscreants and they started beating me, destroying things in that office and asking what was I doing in the House of Assembly complex that I am not supposed to be there, that I am an enemy of government.”
The Legal Officer of FIDA in Ekiti State, Kemi Atitebi, told journalists on Tuesday that her organisation received a complaint of sexual harassment and assault on Mrs. Ilesanmi against Mr. Pelemo but the legislator shunned the invitation to come and defend himself against the allegation.
“FIDA Ekiti received the complaint of sexual harassment and assault against Hon. Dare Pelemo and the complainant is from Mrs. Mercy Ilesanmi that she was assaulted and stripped naked right in the premises of the Assembly complex,” she said.
“FIDA wrote a letter to invite the respondent for us to hear his own side of the story and to mediate in the matter.
“The woman is a widow and mother of children and her dignity has been violated for the fact that she was stripped naked. FIDA strongly condemns any form of assault against women in the state.”
Mrs. Ilesanmi’s lawyer, Adeoye Aribasoye, said he had forwarded a petition on the assault and sexual harassment of his client to the state Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Chafe.
“We have written a petition on the brutality and sexual harassment to the state police command and it is already receiving the attention of the Commissioner of Police,” Mr. Aribasoye said.
“Besides, FIDA in Ekiti is also investigating the case and I believe that very soon, an action will be taken on the matter.”
Ekiti State Police Public Relations Officer, Alberto Adeyemi, when contacted, told PREMIUM TIMES that he was not aware of the petition from the complainant.
He however said he would need to check through the necessary channels to confirm if such petition had reached the command.
Mr. Pelemo in his reaction, denied the allegations of sexual harassment and assault on the lady, saying the lady was out to destroy him.
Speaking to journalists in Ado-Ekiti on Tuesday, Mr. Pelemo accused the woman
of attempting to destroy him.
Mr. Pelemo, who is the House Committee Chairman on Security, said Mrs. Ilesanmi did not wear visitor’s tag when she visited the Assembly complex on September 5 which prompted him to challenge her on her mission.
The lawmaker accused Mrs. Ilesanmi of working as an agent of the senator representing Ekiti South, Biodun Olujimi, who is no longer in the good books of Governor Ayo Fayose and leadership of the Assembly.
“It is not true that I touched her, I did not touch her breasts but I suddenly saw a petition from FIDA last Friday, but I had travelled to my hometown, Ilasa-Ekiti after which the FIDA people called me and I told them that I would be coming back on Monday,” Mr. Pelemo explained.
“It was not as if I ignored FIDA, she is trying to frame me up and destroy my good name. She is being sponsored by some people but I will still honour the FIDA invitation.”
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