The management of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Ile-Ife has vowed to ensure justice is served in a case of alleged sexual assault involving Joseph Opefeyitimi, a professor at the institution.
Opefeyitimi is a professor of Yoruba incantations and stylistics in the department of Linguistics and African Languages.
Boluwatife Bababunmi, a student in the same department, had in a petition addressed to the school, accused the professor of sexually assaulting her in his office.
According to the student, she had gone to Opefeyitimi’s office after he requested her presence.
“I got to his office around 1.23 pm. 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,” she had written in the petition.
“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 2 pm 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.
“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.”
Reacting to the incident in a statement on Wednesday, Abiodun Olanrewaju, OAU’s spokesman, dismissed allegations that the institution was foot-dragging in sanctioning the embattled professor.
Olanrewaju said a prima facie has been established against the professor, adding that the institution would announce its sanction in due course.
“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,” the statement read.
“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.”
Copyright 2023 TheCable. All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from TheCable.
Follow us on twitter @Thecablestyle