After all the hues and cries, especially on the social media, against the purported conduct of a Professor of Management and Accounting at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife- Richard Akindele, who was accused of demanding sex to help an unnamed female student pass his course, strong indications have emerged that the embattled lecturer and a senior pastor with an Anglican church may escape trial.
A top management official at the university, who spoke with Saturday Telegraph on condition of anonymity, said apart from the damage the social media account may do to the lecturer’s image, there is yet to be any case established against the accused.
The source, who confirmed that the university had on Wednesday set up a committee to look into the matter and give its report in one week, said only four top officials of the institution know the membership composition of the committee to avoid unnecessary influence.
Meanwhile, further investigations have revealed that as at Friday night, just about four days to the expiration of the oneweek tenure of the committee, the female student, whose voice was heard in the recording that has gone viral on social media, has refused to either meet or forward any relevant document or information to the committee members for prosecution.
This was as the Vice-Chancellor of Lagos State University, LASU, Ojo, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, has advocated the institution of whistleblowing policy on campuses to address the rising cases of corruption in tertiary institutions, especially the cases of sexual harassment among both the students and staff.
Investigations conducted by Saturday Telegraph revealed that similar cases in the past could not be legally tried because the victims were afraid of coming out.
Meanwhile, the highly-placed source has confirmed to Saturday Telegraph that information at the university’s disposal linked the embattled lecturer to similar cases of harassment, threats and bullying in the past, but there is yet to be any official complaint.
The source said: “I can confirm to you that information at our disposal even shows that the said lecturer had helped some female students under similar circumstances but where is the evidence? The lady is yet to come out and like we have experienced in the past, I can say authoritatively that she would not come in the open.
“Even when some people are suggesting that we could trace the call logs of telephone numbers for confirmation, the argument is that even if we do, except the victim comes out, we can’t fight her case for her. You can only forcefully take a horse to the stream, you cannot force the same horse to drink water.
“So the import of my message is that all that we are witnessing by the cries in the social media is just a social trial but the legal trial is different from all these. If you go to court without concrete evidence, the matter may be thrown out and the accused may even win claims against the institution or whoever goes to court.
So we need to appeal to the victim to come in the open first.” The source said the university has at many times in the past advised victims to share their experience with some gender activists among lecturers on the campus “but just like a rape case, they always keep quiet and suffer in the corners of their room.”
“But I can confirm to you that the Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede-led management of the university is committed to prosecuting anyone found guilty because within the last few days that the whole matter had trended on social media, the image of our university has been at stake.
Yet, we must rise above mere sentiments and deal with issues and not hearsay,” the source added. However, the LASU VC has insisted that the whistleblowing policy introduced by his administration has helped in no small measure to address similar cases on his campus, noting that without promise of adequate protection and some benefits for informants, no one would be ready to risk his or her life to give such difficult information.
Fagbohun, who had conducted journalists round the university campus recently in appreciation of the many ongoing infrastructural facilities facilitated by the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode in the state, said the peace currently being enjoyed on the campus cannot be entirely dissociated from the policy.
It would be recalled that in the audio recording, which has gone viral, a female student had called the Professor to inquire about his earlier sex demand to pass her in the lecturer’s course that she supposedly failed.
He told the student that she would repeat the exam in the next academic session since she had refused to “take the opportunity” he offered her to have sex with him. “I gave you an opportunity and you missed it. Forget about it. You will do it next year,” the professor had threatened.
he student said she was calling to confirm whether he was serious about having sex with her. He responded: “Me that agreed to do something. I know what I meant. If you don’t trust me forget about it. If I wouldn’t do it, why should I give you audience in the first place. If I am not interested in doing it, I won’t give you audience.
“The other person has come and I told her straight away because there is nothing I can do to bail that person out and her mark is even better than your own. The person scored 39 while your own is 33.”
The lecturer then asked her why she told him that she was having her menstruation the day they met and he demanded sex. “I was really seeing my period Professor Akindele,” the girl responded but the man told her to stop mentioning his name.
“And now nko?” he asked, to which she replied that the period had ended. “Your boyfriend has done it yesterday?” he asked.
“Is it every time that someone will be doing with the boyfriend?,” she responded. “Is it every time you do it with your wife?” “Yes,” he answered. “It’s a lie,” the girl exclaimed. “Not possible.”
When the girl asked him about the plan for the arrangement for her to have the sex so that she could avoid repeating the course, he told her that they would have the first sex the next day and on four subsequent occasions. “Is not five we agreed? Our agreement is five,” he said. “Is it B that you want to give me or C?” the girl asked.
“Why would it be five times you will knack me?” She then told him she would not have sex with him five times. “Prof, you know what? Let me fail it. I can’t do it five times. For what nah? No worry. Thank you, sir,” she said, then ended the call.