STRONG indication emerged on Wednesday that the authorities of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife have suspended Professor Richard Akindele, who was allegedly involved in sex-for-marks scandal.
It is recalled that a recorded audio conversation of the don, demanding for five rounds to increase the grade or marks of a female undergraduate had gone viral, generating varied reactions from the cross-section of the public.
However, a credible source in the university informed the Nigerian Tribune that investigative panel constituted to investigate the allegation by the management of OAU had submitted its report on Tuesday.
The source hinted that a prima facie was established by the panel against the don and the recommendation of his suspension had been implemented by the university management.
But, efforts to get the confirmation of suspension order proved abortive as calls put through to the mobile phone of the OAU Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mr Abiodun Olarewaju rang out without a response, while text message forwarded to him was not replied.
Meanwhile, authorities of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, on Thursday officially announced the immediate suspension of Professor Richard I. Akindele, who was allegedly involved in a sex-for-marks scandal with a female undergraduate of the institution, identified as Miss Monica Osetobe Osagie.
The alleged sex scandal, which became public issue, dominating social and conventional media last week had generated divergent reaction from individuals, groups and other stakeholders, most especially in the educational sector.
However, in a press statement endorsed by the Vice-Chancellor of OAU, Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, which was made available to the Nigerian Tribune in Osogbo, Akindele had been suspended pending the pending the final determination of the case by the Governing Council of the university.
The the statement reads thus, “OAU, Ile-Ife, has received and considered the interim report of the committee set up to investigate the allegation of sexual harassment revealed in a recent audio recording”.
“In the interim report submitted to the Vice Chancellor, Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, Professor Richard I. Akindele, of the Department of Management and Accounting, is now established to be the lecturer in the controversial “marks for sex” audio recording. The female voice has also been identified as that of Miss Monica Osetobe OSAGIE, a postgraduate student of Master of Business Administration regular programme”
“Although the investigative committee had invited both Professor Richard I. Akindele and Miss Osagie, only Professor Akindele had appeared before the committee, while Miss Osagie is yet to appear or make any representation. The report indicated that many other witnesses appeared before the committee and gave useful evidence”.
“The university is making efforts to ensure that Miss Osagie appears before the investigative committee so that it can hear her side of the case and promptly submit its final report. The committe observed that a prima facie case of inappropriate relationship with the female student had been established against Professor Richard I. Akindele.
The Vice-Chancellor, having carefully and dispassionately considered the report, also came to the conclusion that a prima facie case of serious misconduct had been established. Having regard to the gravity of the offence for which Professor Richard I. Akindele is found to be prima facie liable, the Vice-Chancellor, in line with the code of conduct for the university community and acting under all the laws and regulations of the University enabling him in that regard, has directed that Professor Richard I. Akindele be suspended forthwith from the University, pending the final determination of the disciplinary case against him”.
“Under the provisions of the relevant Statute of the University, an academic staff can only be dismissed from service or have his or her appointment terminated only when the matter on which consideration is being given has been investigated by a Joint Council and Senate Committee, and the staff has appeared before the committee with his or her counsel, if so desired”
“This procedure is the minimum requirement of the law and regulations of the University. It should therefore be noted that the suspension of Professor Richard I. Akindele is on the basis of the findings of the Investigative Committee that he is prima facie liable, and this decision will abide, pending the final determination of the case by the Council of the University.
We will like to reiterate that OAU will continue to do everything legally and morally acceptable in pursuance of its avowed commitment to zero tolerance for sexual harassment, intimidation and, or coercion.