By Kayode Fasua
The Ogun State Government yesterday ordered the suspension of the Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Abiodun Abudu-Balogun, over rape accusation from a teenager.
A government statement said he would remain suspended from office pending the conclusion of an independent investigation into an allegation of sexual harassment of 16-year old Barakat Mayowa Melojuekun.
In the statement issued in Abeokuta, the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, said the suspension of the commissioner was to enable him cooperate fully with the independent investigation being carried out by the Police.
“Whilst taking cognisance of the principle of a suspect being presumed innocent until proven guilty and the public statement issued by Hon. Abudu-Balogun denying the allegation, as a government with zero tolerance for gender-based violence and indeed any criminality, the suspension is a further demonstration of the commitment of Prince Dapo Abiodun Administration to fairness, equity, justice and the rule of law, no matter who is involved,” the statement explained.
The government assured the public that it would do everything to ensure that justice is served in the rivetting scandal allegation.
In the meantime, the suspended commissioner had been directed to hand over to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment.
At the weekend, the Ogun State Police Command summoned the ex-commissioner to come defend himself against the accusations by little Barakat that the former had attempted to rape her.
Police sources also told THISDAY that no fewer than three key witnesses had testified in the rape case.
All attempts to reach the embattled commissioner on phone were futile, as his cell phone had been switched off.