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CPC commends OAU over sexual harassment case

The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has commended prompt actions by the management of Obafeme Awolowo University (OAU) in the alleged sexual harassment of one of its female students.

Recalls that the Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Eyitope Ogunbodede, had taken immediate action over a leaked audio suggesting that one Richard Akindele, a Professor in the Department of Accounting, in the institution was demanding sex from a female student to help her pass her examination.

The Director-General of CPC, Mr Babatunde Irukera, gave the commendation on Monday in a statement by Mr Abiodun Obimuyiwa, CPC Head of Media.

Irukera said the council had keenly followed the raging controversy regarding the sexually and emotionally abusive conduct of demanding, and or providing sexual gratification in exchange for favourable grades in school.

He said, “CPC notes the prompt actions taken by the authorities of OAU and commends the responsiveness so far displayed, in addressing a rather insidious and predatory incident.

“The Council further welcomes the expressed commitment of OAU to an open and transparent investigation, as well as the promise to publish the outcome of the investigation.

“The Council encourages OAU to ensure this investigation is broad, balanced and inclusive.”

Irukera, however, urged management of the school to include people and views from all relevant stakeholders in handling the case to promote confidence, equity and fairness.

He named such stakeholders to include faculty, professional disciplinary bodies, student representation, relevant civil society specialising in sexual harassment, gender objectification, consumer protection and institutions such as the National Human Rights Commission.

The CPC boss also urged the school management to ensure the investigative process encouraged contributions and protected both identified and anonymous contributors.

He said the authorities must in addition provide necessary safeguards that, such persons were not otherwise victimised, “blacklisted” or subjected to any reprisal on account of their cooperation with the investigation.

”a transparent, comprehensive and decisive approach to a matter of this nature is vital for reputation and quality of education.

“Failure to fully and sufficiently address the issue compromises the entire institution and victimises not only the students who are directly solicited, induced or compelled, but others who decline, and those who are not considered or propositioned.

“This is because educational outcomes skewed by such factors operate to the disadvantage of all, especially where class rank is a factor in evaluating performance,” Irukera said.

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