Sexual Harassment: UNILAG Probes Two Senior Lecturers

The management of the University of Lagos has reacted to the alleged sexual harassment of a postgraduate student of the institution by two senior lecturers.SaharaReporters had earlier reported that one Miss Jennifer Utulu, a postgraduate student of the university petitioned the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) against two of her lecturers over alleged abuse of office and sexual harassment.

The two accused lecturers with the Department of Creative Arts are Dr Felix Emoruwa and Dr Adebisi Ademakinwa (associate professor) who were said to have continued to frustrate Miss Utulu, as they refused to supervise her PhD thesis unless she agreed to their sexual requests.In the petition filed by Utulu through her lawyer, Anna Ofunu Ikwuta Esq. from the Graylaw Practice LP, the student accused the lecturers of stalling her postgraduate degree programme which she started in 2015/2016 academic session and ought to have completed in 2019 because she refused to have sex with them.

The petition dated June 23, 2023, and addressed to ICPC Chairman, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye is titled: “Petition against Dr Felix Emoruwa and Dr Adebisi Ademakinwa for abusing their offices by corruptly demanding sexual gratification from Miss Jennifer Utulu on account of supervising her Post Graduate Degree Thesis at the Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos contrary to Sections 12 and 14 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act No. 6 of 2003”.

The petitioner’s counsel, Ikwuta, appealed to the anti-corruption agency to use the apparatus of government to protect her client from being threatened, harassed or harmed in any manner whatsoever while the investigation and prosecution of the case lasted.

Reacting to the report, the university management in a statement titled: “RE: UNILAG Postgraduate Student Petitions Nigeria Anti-Corruption Body, ICPC Over Alleged Sexual Harassment…” which was signed by Head, Communication Unit, Adejoke Alaga-Ibraheem, said that the university had zero-tolerance for all forms of harassment – especially sexual impropriety, adding that it has a well-established policy against such.The statement partly read: “The attention of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) Management has been drawn to various online reports,” about Postgraduate Student Petitioning the ICPC over sexual harassment.

“Management wishes to inform the public that an investigative panel was indeed set up to address the sexual harassment allegation levelled against two lecturers in the Department of Creative Arts.

“The six-man panel chaired by a Professor from the Department of Geosciences, has submitted its findings to the University Management for further action, in line with the University’s laid down procedure.

“It, however, noted that “this procedure involves various arms of the university, and has numerous stages to ensure thoroughness and justice to all involved.“Please note that the decisions reached on the allegations would be communicated through appropriate channels at the conclusion of the entire process.

“The university therefore takes this opportunity to reassure students, parents/guardians, staff, other stakeholders and the public, of its zero-tolerance for all forms of harassment (especially sexual impropriety), and has a well-established policy against such.”