The family of a 16-year-old girl, Barakat Melojuekun, who accused the Ogun State Commissioner for Environment, Abiodun Abdul-Balogun, of sexual assault, may have bowed to pressure as they announced that they would be withdrawing their case from the police.
They also asked Nigerians to “allow the matter to rest”.
Barakat and her father, Adesola Melojuekun, in separate short videos on Facebook, made the appeal, noting that they would not be pursuing the matter again with the police.
The teenager on Saturday was reported to have accused the Commissioner for Environment, Abdul-Balogun, of sexual harassment which allegedly occurred at Ita Otu, Ogun Waterside Local Government Area of the state.
Barakat said the sexual harassment occurred on Thursday, December 31, in the commissioner’s apartment, where he allegedly fondled her breasts and muttered incantations while she screamed and struggled to free herself from his grip.
The victim, in her confession to the police at the Abigi Division, had narrated that the commissioner’s aides lured her to his house and his bedroom, after which the commissioner came in and bolted the door.
The commissioner had refuted the allegations, saying they were “lies, blackmail and the handiwork of his local political opponents.”
However, the Ogun State Government had on Sunday suspended the commissioner pending the outcome of investigation into the matter, saying Abdul-Balogun should hand over to the Permanent Secretary in the ministry.
On Monday, Barakat in a video, appreciated Nigerians for their support and concern, but pleaded that the matter should be laid to rest.
She said, “You can recall that I was the young lady in the viral video about sexual harassment by the Commissioner for the Environment in Ogun State. I am using this opportunity to thank all meaningful Nigerians that showed their support and love towards this matter.
“And I want you to know that there are a few misconceptions and misunderstandings between I and the commissioner. I now want to use this opportunity to appeal to meaningful Nigerians to please allow this matter to rest. Thanks.”
Also, the father, Adesola, said, “I want to thank the media for their doggedness and aggressive support to make sure that justice is done. I also thank the international community and well-meaning Nigerians who showed their love and support towards this matter.
“I discovered that there were a few misconceptions and misunderstandings along the line between my daughter and the honourable commissioner. Having discovered this, I deemed it fit to call Nigerians and the international community that this matter should be allowed to be laid to rest.
“As the father of Barakat, I appeal to Nigerians and the international community and media too that I don’t have interest in this matter again. I am withdrawing my case and I want them as well to support me the same way they did at the beginning of the matter. I am very grateful for the show of love and support.”
In the first video, Barakat, a Senior Secondary School 3 student, had narrated how the commissioner allegedly caressed her body, while offering her money.
Mayowa said, “On December 31, one Mr Lasisi came to my grandparents 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. He now said I should get dressed and we should go together to the place.
“When we got there, it was the honourable’s house. A lady, Maryam Odunnuga, came to pick me up and took me to 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.
“The honourable locked the door instantly and put the key in his pocket. So, he now moved close to me and asked for the name of my school. He asked for the amount of money I was paying as school fees. I replied by saying N30,000. He asked me who was paying my school fees, I told him my daddy. He now asked why didn’t I think of starting a business before going to school.
“I said I wanted to go to a higher institution. He now said if I would need some money, how much would I need? I said, any amount. He said I should state an amount. He now moved closer and pressed (fondled) my breasts. So, I moved his hand away. He now asked that won’t I cooperate? He now started pressing (fondling) my breasts and my body.
“I was struggling to free myself from him. So, he now started reciting some incantations. He wanted to touch my head. I now moved his hand away so that he would not touch my head. He now wanted to force me inside his bathroom.
“But I struggled with him and started shouting. He did not want people around his house to know what was going on. He now left me and gave him four, N500 notes, which is N2,000 as my transport, but I rejected the money.
“He said if I didn’t collect the money, he would not let me go. So, I collected it and he now asked Austin to drop me back in our house. I want Nigerians to help me to take up this matter and charge against him (sic). This has never happened to me in my life. Right now, I am so shocked. I have never been harassed like that in my life.”
SaharaReporters, New York