Professor Richard Akindele of OAU
By Victor Adeoti
Prof. Richard Akindele, the Obafemi Awolowo University of Ile-Ife don enmeshed in a sex-for-marks scandal has been suspended by authorities of the university.
The Vice Chancellor of OAU, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, confirmed the suspension in a statement on Thursday.
He said he had received and considered the interim report of the committee set up to investigate the allegation of sexual harassment revealed in audio recording.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a recorded audio conversation of the don demanding for sex to increase the marks of a female undergraduate had gone viral.
The audio recording had generated reactions from the cross-section of the public until the university authority reacted.
The Vice Chancellor said,” In the interim report submitted, Professor Richard I. Akindele, of the Department of Management and Accounting, is now established to be the lecturer in the controversial “marks for sex” audio recording.
“The female voice has also been identified as that of Miss Monica Osetobe Osagie, a Postgraduate student on the Master of Business Administration Regular programme.
“The committee observed that a prima facie case of inappropriate relationship with the female student had been established against Professor Richard I. Akindele.
“Having carefully and dispassionately considered the report, it also came to the conclusion that a prima facie case of serious misconduct had been established, having regard to the gravity of the offence for which Professor Richard I. Akindele is found to be prima facie liable,
“The Vice-Chancellor, in line with the Code of Conduct for the University Community and acting under all the laws and regulations of the University enabling him in that regard has directed that Professor Richard I. Akindele be suspended forthwith from the University, pending the final determination of the disciplinary case against him.’’
The Vice Chancellor said that though the investigative committee invited both Akindele and Osagie, only Akindele had appeared before the committee.
“The report indicated that many other witnesses appeared before the committee and gave useful evidence.
“The university is making efforts to ensure that Miss Osagie appears before the investigative committee so that it can hear her side of the case and promptly submit its final report,’’ he said.
Explaining why the lecturer was yet to be sacked, the Vice Chancellor said that the provisions of the relevant statue of the university must be followed.
“Under the provisions of the relevant statute of the university, an academic staff can only be dismissed from service or have his or her appointment terminated only when the matter on which consideration is being given has been investigated by a Joint Council and Senate Committee;
“Also the staff has appeared before the committee with his or her counsel, if so desired.
“This procedure is the minimum requirement of the law and regulations of the university.
“It should therefore be noted that the suspension of Professor Richard I. Akindele is on the basis of the findings of the Investigative Committee that he is prima facie liable.
“This decision will abide, pending the final determination of the case by the council of the University”, the vice chancellor said.
Ogunbodede said that the university would continue to do everything legally and morally acceptable in pursuance of its avowed commitment to zero tolerance for sexual harassment, intimidation and, or coercion.(NAN)