The management of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, has assured the public that it would not condone sexual rascality, no matter how highly placed the individual involved.
The assurance was against the backdrop of the allegations of sexual assault levelled against a Professor of Yoruba Incantations and Stylistics in the Department of Linguistics and African Languages, Joseph Opefeyitimi.
A statement signed by the Public Relations Officer of the university, Abiodun Olanrewaju, obtained in Osogbo on Wednesday, said the victim, Boluwatife Bababunmi, of the same department, petitioned the university management, accusing Opefeyitimi of sexual assault in his office.
Bababunmi, in the petition, said she went to the office of Opefeyitimi after he requested her presence.
“I got to his office around 1.23pm. He told me that he only wanted to ask about what was going on on the campus since he wasn’t on campus the previous day. I was astounded to hear that, but I told him to take the Road 7 route when ready to go home because road 1 was blocked. He asked me to sit down and he asked me the reason why the road was blocked. Then I told him that I didn’t really know and heard that it was all about the appointment of the new VC.
“He decided to leave the office immediately and he packed his things saying that I was God-sent to him because it was almost 2pm and he needed to pick up his son from school. He carried the bag and we were about to leave the office. I offered to help him with the bag but he declined and I headed to the door.
“He grabbed me from behind and held me so tight. At this point, I was in shock, then he said and I quote, ‘Mo fé kí èmi àti e jo wà papò ni [thrice] but problem tí mo ní telè ni boy Ajibade yen but mi ò rò pé ó ye kó jé problem mó- (I want the two of us to be together (three times), but the problem I had before was that boy called Ajibade, but I don’t think he should pose any challenge again.“
Read also Nkerefi Royal Ladies Club Appoints Monday Diamond Ani Her Patron, Endorses Him For House Of Assembly Enugu State.
He then stood up from the chair still forcefully holding me and dragged me to the couch in his office. By this time, he had already pulled down his trousers and brought out his erect pen*s.
“He grabbed my right hand, and used it to rub his pen*s. It happened so quickly that I was petrified. He continued to do this and I was so distressed by the entire situation that I lost count of time.”
The university spokesperson described as unfounded the allegation making the rounds that the management was foot-dragging in sanctioning the professor allegedly involved in the act.
Giving an update on the steps already taken by the university on the issue, Olanrewaju said, “The unwholesome incident, which happened on March 18, 2022, prompted Boluwatife Hannah Bababunmi of the Department of Linguistics and African Languages, to write a petition to the university management against Joseph Ayo Opefeyitimi, a professor of Yoruba Incantations and Stylistics, of the same department, on March 21, 2022.
“Procedurally, after the receipt of the formal complaints, the first step was that the departmental committee sat on the matter and, after thorough investigation, Professor Opefeyitimi was found prima facie liable.
“Second stage was the faculty level and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Professor Niyi Okunoye, referred the matter to the anti-sexual harassment committee of the university. The committee, which also sat and clinically deliberated on this same matter, recommended appropriate disciplinary actions against Professor Ayo Opefeyitimi to the university management.
“Of course, the university administration would have to present its recommendations to the governing council which has the final say on the matter, considering the status of the staff involved.”
The management pledged to continue to protect the students, particularly the females, against any sexual predator.
The statement said the first lecturer to be dismissed in the school was of the Department of Management and Accounting, and the second was from the Department of English Language, while the third, who was given a letter of dismissal last month, was teaching in the Department of International Relations. PUNCH