By Peter Oriyomi
The authorities of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife in Osun State have said that a senior lecturer of the university, Prof. Joseph Ayo Opefeyitimi, accused of sexual assault against a female student in his office, was found “prima facie liable.”
The university through its spokesman, Biodun Olarewaju, described as an unfounded allegation the management is foot dragging in sanctioning the professor.
In sa statement, Olarewaju said: “For the avoidance of doubt, the authorities of the Obafemi Awolowo University have never shielded and will not shield any staff or student found to have committed any sexual misdemeanor. Previous cases of this nature have not evaded the disciplinary hammer of the University administration.
“The unwholesome incident, which happened on the 18th of March, 2022, prompted the victim 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 the 21st of March, 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.
“We want the general public to be rest assured and be reassured that the present University Management does not condone sexual rascality of any form, under any guise against any member of the University community from anybody. We also pledge to continue to protect our students, particularly the female ones, against any sexual predator, no matter how highly placed.
“As a mark of its zero tolerance for sexual harassment, the present University Management had summarily dismissed three lecturers who had committed similar sexual offences. The first lecturer to be dismissed was of the department of Management and Accounting while the second one was from the department of English Language. The third one, who was given his letter of dismissal last month, was teaching in the department of International Relations.”