The Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) community and Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, the counsel to Monica Osagie, a victim at the centre of the sex-for-marks scandal, have reacted to the decision of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) decision to arraign Richard Akindele, a dismissed lecturer of the institution.
The ICPC, in a release on Wednesday, announced that Mr Akindele will be arraigned at the Federal High Court in Osogbo for allegedly demanding sex from Ms Osagie in order to upgrade her academic result from fail to pass.
CAMPUS REPORTER reported in April how the randy lecturer was caught in a leaked phone recording seeking five rounds of sex from the female student.
In the audio, the student repeatedly addressed the other person in the conversation as ‘Prof Akindele’, who later protested, saying, ‘stop calling my name!’
Also, several members and a reverend of the Anglican Diocese of Ife, Osun State where he worships as a minister, confirmed the voice in the audio as that of Mr Akindele.
Following the condemnation from the public, OAU’s management set up a panel to look into the scandal.
The panel suspended Mr Akindele indefinitely at the end of April.
It later dismissed him in June, having found him guilty of an inappropriate relationship with one of his students, a claim to which he admitted.
Mr Akindele later said the demand for five days of sex was a deliberate attempt to play along with the student, an argument the university did not buy.
Also, in August, the victim, Ms Osagie said she has been unable to secure a job after exposing the lecturer.
However, ICPC said the professor will be docked on November 19 on a 3-count charge contrary to Sections 8 (1) (a) (ii), and 18 (d) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, punishable under the same sections.
Mr Akindele has reportedly asked for plea-bargain, having admitted guilt and also cited ill-health as a factor that may make him unable to stand the rigours of prison life.
He pleaded that his prayers for plea-bargain be considered, more so as he was already serving punishment for his offence, having been sacked by the university.
Reacting to this development, Mrs Akiyode-Afolabi, a counsel to Ms Osagie said in a telephone interview that the lecturer’s arraignment is “victory for the feminist movement and in particular, Monica Osagie and thousands of men and women sympathetic to Monica’s cause.”
“The fact that he has pleaded guilty and ready for plea bargain will serve as a deterrent to others, who exploit students. If his plea is accepted, it will not avail him of still being a convict. The option is a shortcut for him though, but a great lesson for the university communities in Nigeria.
“We will continue to insist that institutions must brace up to free students from other predators like Prof Akindele. An effective mechanism should be in place to prevent occurrences and respond to cases where it occurred.
“My client is quite excited. It has been a tortuous journey. My client will continue to advocate for other young women and encourage them to speak out against this and other forms of abuse. We commend ICPC for the professionalism displayed to ensure that this case got to this level,” she said.
The chairman of Congress of Universities Academic (CONUA) in OAU, Niyi Sunmonu, while reacting, said the maximum punishment in the book of the university has been done.
“For us in the university, we have done the needful. However, since it emanated from OAU, what we do as a union is to continue to sensitise our members on sex scandal(s) which we have done a seminar (on), earlier.”
Also, students who spoke with CAMPUS REPORTER applauded the decision of ICPC and hoped that it will be a lesson for other randy lecturers in the school.
A student who simply identified herself as Bukola said: “Mr Akindele’s arraignment is a welcome development. This will surely serve as a lesson to other randy lecturers. I hope other institutions’ lecturers having scandals around their neck also face the court of law”, she said.
Another student, Rachael Akinwale said Mr Akindele deserves the punishment.
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