The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has urged the anti-graft agency, ICPC, to probe the sexual harassment of a teenage female student of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Precious Azuka, by a professor, Adewole Atere.
One of the lecturers named in the report of the sub-committee of the university’s management on the matter, Shola Omotola, has also denied his involvement.
ASUU made the call in response to an exclusive report by PREMIUM TIMES, titled; “Nigerian professor impregnates 16-year-old student.”
The report, which detailed the amorous relationship between Mr Atere, then the head of the department of criminology at the institution, and Azuka, then one of the new intakes of the department in 2017, also confirmed Mr Atere’s abrupt resignation from the university.
Addressing a press conference at the Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado-Ekiti, on August 19, the leaders of the Akure zone of the lecturers’ union accused the management of FUOYE of corruption, harassment of workers, poor staff welfare condition, among numerous allegations.
The chairman of the zone, Olu Olufayo, said the lasting solution to the crises rocking the federal university “will be the setting up of a visitation panel by President Muhammadu Buhari”.
ASUU’s statement reads in part:
“The Akure Zone of ASUU has presented before the public on two occasions now via press conferences, the rule of tyranny in FUOYE by a compromised vice-chancellor who has turned the ivory tower into a garden of patronage and sycophancy, riddled with uncouth attitudinal and oppressive behaviour towards criticisms. In our earlier interactions, we informed you specifically about the “State of FUOYE” document that revealed the rotten state of infrastructure, students’ welfare, academic patronage, financial mismanagement amongst others.
“These indecent practices have tailed his administration since assumption of duty in 2016, about three and half years ago. Our cry to the Federal Government to immediately send in a visitation panel remains unheeded and we can only wonder if the Vice Chancellor is not doing his Master’s bidding in his run of tyranny and licentiousness.
“ASUU as a body will continue to cry out to the public until a solution comes by way of reprieve, to alleviate the undue hardship and victimisation meted out to vigilant critics in the system; and the unholy captivity the system has been subjected to by a group of opportunistic jobbers, better described as relics of a glorious profession.
“For emphasis, the academic profession is a noble and modest one, characterised by mentoring and development of manpower for national growth and community service. The University is a solution centre, and not one to be hijacked by greedy money and power hunting monsters, whose intention is contrary to the lofty objectives of the ivory tower.”
Speaking further, Mr Olufayo said the union would appreciate prompt action by the ICPC.
He said Nigeria can only be sanitised when the decadence within the education sector is addressed.
“We cannot afford selective fight against corruption and moral bankruptcy. ICPC has set standard with the trial and sentence of the lecturer at OAU and this must be followed up with more prosecutions. The scenario at FUOYE is even worse because an underage is involved,” Mr Olufayo later told PREMIUM TIMES.
Victim of circumstance?
Meanwhile, in a telephone interview with our reporter, Mr Omotola said he was only a victim of circumstance as “he only met one of his colleagues, Chinedu Abrifor, and Azuka’s boyfriend, Kayode Fasanya, discussing the matter while he was on his way to work”.
The professor of political science said he was a tenant at Abrifor’s house, and was on his way to work when “he saw his colleague standing in the compound discussing with Fasanya, who was later introduced to him as Azuka’s boyfriend”.
“In fact, I would have left for school before the boy came into the compound but for my dustbin I went to empty. As I was doing that Dr Abrifor called me and said this is the boy. I simply asked which boy? He then explained the pregnancy matter to me and I told them the truth should be told by anyone involved. That was all and I left for work. I didn’t even spend five minutes with them.”
He said he faced the panel set up by the university and had explained the all that he knew about the matter.
“So please, I will like the public to note that I am not involved in the matter at all. Those struggling to rope me in can only try in vain.”