Ogun State Government says it has suspended the Commissioner for Environment, Abiodun Abudu-Balogun, from office for alleged sexual harassment of an underaged girl.
The government said the suspension would last pending the conclusion of an independent investigation into the allegation.
The commissioner was alleged of sexual harassment by a 16-year-old Barakat Melojuekun.
A statement issued in Abeokuta on Sunday by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Tokunbo Talabi, said the commissioner’s suspension would enable him to cooperate fully with the independent investigation being carried out by the police.
The statement read “whilst taking cognizance 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 Prince Dapo Abiodun Administration’s commitment to fairness, equity, justice and the rule of law, no matter who is involved.
“The government assures the public that it will do everything to ensure that justice is served in this case.”
In the meantime, the suspended Commissioner has been directed to hand over to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment.”
Recall that Saharareporters had reported that 16-year-old girl, Barakat Mayowa, had accused the Ogun State Commissioner of Environment of sexual harassment which allegedly occurred at Ita Otu, Ogun Waterside Local Government Area of the state.
Mayowa recounted that the sexual harassment occurred on Thursday, December 31, in the commissioner’s apartment. He allegedly fondled her breasts and muttered incantations while she screamed and struggled to free herself from his grip.
In her confession to the police at the Abigi Division, the victim narrated that the commissioner’s aides lured her to his house and his bedroom, after which the commissioner came in and bolted the door.
In the video recording, believably done by a police investigator and obtained by SaharaReporters, the victim, a Senior Secondary School 3 student, added that the commissioner allegedly caressed her body, while offering her money.
She said she resisted the money and screamed before she was eventually allowed to go.
Mayowa said, “What transpired between me and honourable (the commissioner) is that on December 29, which was a Tuesday, I was on my way to register for my National Identity Number. So, I came across the man who happened to be a commissioner at Waterside Park. I was with a friend.
“So, he called me and said he knew me from somewhere. I said no, he said, maybe I resembled someone he knew. He asked where I was living, and I told him. Then I left. He sent a young man after me to get my number. I said no, that my father’s elder brother stays in the park and that he should get my number from him.
“There was another Austin, a friend, who teaches at a government grammar school. They know the guy. So, the guy gave them my number. It was the commissioner who sent them to get my number.
“On December 31, one Mr Lasisi came to my grandparents’ place in the area and said he knew someone who needed a computer operator and asked if I knew how to operate a computer. I said, yes. Then he said I should get dressed and that we would go together to the place.
“When we got there, it was honourable’s house. A lady, Maryam Odunnuga, came to pick me and took me into a living room. Mr Austin now came out and asked me to come over to a room. The honourable now came inside, and Mr Austin went outside immediately.”
SaharaReporters, New York