The professor of English Studies in the University of Lagos who was involved in a n*de photo scandal, has spoken out.
The professor in the middle of the controversy
A professor of English Studies in the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, and former Vice-Chancellor of Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ijagun, Ogun State, Olusegun Awonusi, has been accused of s*xual harassment by an unnamed student of the institution.
The fresh allegation came a day after the Senate commenced probe into a similar allegation against a professor of Management and Accounting in the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Richard Akindele, who was accused of molestation by a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) student, Monica Osagie.
But Awonusi, a former Commissioner for Education in Ogun State, whose nude pictures allegedly taken by the victim while in his office had gone viral in the social media, has denied the allegation, describing it as a cheap blackmail.
This was as the university yesterday promised to investigate the matter in a fair and open manner. Meanwhile, the unnamed student, in her narration made available to a blog – Linda Ikeji Blog – said she had been suffering the harassment for months.
She said: “Whenever students go to his office for anything he is always trying to touch you. I took pictures of him on one of the days I entered his office.
“He has made molestation a part of him. I’m even scared for my life in UNILAG. That’s why I’m reaching out to you so he can be stopped.
“He is a professor in the English Department, Faculty of Arts. I am not his first victim. He does this all the time to students.
“I have completely given up when it comes to academics; he has failed me on tests before. When I talked to him concerning it, he told me I should know what to do and that I am an adult.
“I feel so dirty for even allowing such an old man touch me. But he doesn’t even care; as long as you satisfy his wants. I’m tired of everything. He should be stopped before he ruins the lives of other innocent girls in that English Department. When he touches me I am The school gate Aboderin always in tears, but it doesn’t stop him. Please this is why I am reaching out. All I want is for him to be stopped.
“He is destroying the mental state of girls in UNILAG.” The student, who said the lecturers of the concerned department, act like cultists, explained that these lecturers share information about their ‘preys’ among themselves.
“They talk about the girls they have slept with and the ones they plan to sleep with. It has been going on for years,”she added.
In an interview with New Telegraph, Awonusi, who was identified in the photographs accompanying the allegation, explained that the pictures revealed by the accuser had been taken about four years ago, and that the concerned student had graduated from the university about three years ago.
Awonusi said he lost his phone sometimes ago, and that the accuser, who he described as a blackmailer, might have secured the pictures from the lost phone.
He said: “It is blackmail. The said pictures were taken about four years ago but sometimes ago, I received a message from a particular lady, saying she was in possession of my nude photos and that I should pay her N400,000.
“The lady said if I did not pay the money, she would go public with the photos. I think this is what she had promised.”
Meanwhile, the university, in a statement issued by the Communication Unit of the Corporate Affairs Directorate, acknowledged the news, but promised to conduct thorough investigation and get to the roots of the matter.
“The management has a zero tolerance for allegations pertaining to sexual impropriety, and has a well-established policy against such practices.
“We wish to reassure all our stakeholders, students, parents, members of staff and the general public that management will not treat this matter with levity. Management will tackle the allegation with every sense of responsibility and seriousness that the matter deserves.
“The issue would be thoroughly investigated with transparency,” the statement said.
The university has, therefore, called for relevant information from members of the public, and particularly the concerned student, pledging confidentiality and protection of informants.
Via New Telegraph