The Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede has announced the suspension of Prof. Richard I. Akindele of the Department of Management and Accounting in the university over the latterâ€™s involvement in the sex-for-marks scandal that has hit the university.
A female postgraduate student, whose identity has been revealed by the university as Miss Monica Osetobe Osagie, had posted an audio recording in which Akindele demanded to have sex with her five times in exchange for giving her a pass mark for an examination she had failed.
The audio recording which went viral and sparked an outrage, also reinforced concerns that several Nigerian male university lecturers are sexual predators and constantly abuse female students in exchange for pass marks.
Female students have also been accused of exchanging sex for favours from their lecturers.
But the latest scandal in the Obafemi Awolowo University compelled the school to investigate the case, leading to the suspension of the lecturer.
The university in a statement issued yesterday by Ogunbodede, the vice-chancellor said Akindeleâ€™s suspension was in line with the code of conduct for the university community and â€œacting under all the laws and regulations of the universityâ€.
According to the statement, â€œThe Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, 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.
â€œIn 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 â€˜sex-for-marksâ€™ audio recording.
â€œThe female voice has also been identified as that of Miss Monica Osetobe Osagie, a postgraduate student on the Master of Business Administration Regular programme.
â€œAlthough the investigative committee had invited both Professor Richard I. Akindele and Miss Osagie, only Professor Akindele appeared before the committee, while Miss Osagie is yet to appear or make any representation.
â€œThe 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.â€
The statement added that the investigative committee observed that a prima facie case of inappropriate relationship with the female student had been established against Akindele.
â€œThe 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.
â€œHaving regard to the gravity of the offence for which Professor 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 Akindele be suspended forthwith from the university, pending the final determination of the disciplinary case against him.
â€œUnder 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.
â€œThis procedure is the minimum requirement of the law and regulations of the university. It should therefore be noted that the suspension of Professor 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.
â€œWe 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,â€ the statement added.