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16-year-old secondary school student accuses Ogun commissioner of sexual harassment

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BARAKAT Mayowa, a 16-year old secondary school student, has accused Abiodun Abdul-Balogun, the Ogun state commissioner for environment, of sexual harassment.

Sahara Reporters reported that Barakat in her confessionary statement told the operatives of the state police that the incident occurred on Thursday, December 31, 2020, at the residence of the commissioner at Ita Otu, Ogun Waterside Local Government Area of the state.

According to her, she said she had met with Abiodun, who voluntarily gave her a ride on December 29, while she was going to register for her National Identity Number. She noted that the commissioner tried to ask for her number as soon as he dropped her from the car but she told him to get it from his uncle who worked at a nearby motor park.

She further narrated that one Lasisi came to lure her to the commissioner’s house on the pretence that her service as a computer literate was needed at a place which was unknown to her that it was the commissioner’s house on the day the incident happened.

“What transpired between me and honourable (the commissioner) is that on December 29, which was a Tuesday, I was on my way to register for my National Identity Number. So, I came across the man who happened to be a commissioner at the Waterside Park. I was with a friend,” she said.

“So, he called me and said he knew me from somewhere. I said no, he said, maybe I resembled someone he knew. He asked where I was living and I told him. Then I left. He sent a young man after me to get my number. I said no, that my father’s elder brother stays in the park and that he should get my number from him.

“There was another Austin, a friend, who teaches at a government grammar school. They know the guy. So, the guy gave them my number. It was the commissioner who sent them to get my number.

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“On December 31, one Mr Lasisi came to my grandparents’ place 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. Then he said I should get dressed and that we would go together to the place.”

Barakat Mayowa (File: Sahara Reporters)

She added that on getting to the commissioner’s house, she was again lured into his bedroom by another of his aides after which the commissioner came in and bolted the door. The commissioner allegedly sat close to him on the bed and was caressing her body, while offering her money.

She said while she was trying to resist him the commissioner was reciting incantations and was trying to lay his hand on her hand.

She was only allowed to go out of fear for neighbours after repeated screams by her.

“When we got there, it was the honourable’s house. A lady, Maryam Odunnuga, came to pick me and took me into 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 moved close to me and asked for the name of my school. He also asked for the amount 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 said if I had thought of starting a business before going to school.

“I said I wanted to go to a higher institution. Then he said if I would need some money now, 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 said won’t I cooperate. He now started pressing (fondling) my breasts and my body.

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“I was struggling to free myself from him. Then he started reciting some incantations. He wanted to touch my head. I now moved his hand away so that he should 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, that is N2,000 as my transport fare. I rejected the money.

“He said if I didn’t collect the money, he would not let me go. So, I collected it. He now asked Austin to drop me in our house. I want Nigerians to help me to take up this matter against him.

She is calling on all Nigerians to seek justice for her stating that the incident has not happened to before.

“This had never happened to me in my life. Right now, I am so shocked. I had never been harassed like that in my life,” she said.

Meanwhile, Abdul-Balogun has denied the allegation, describing it as a game of local politics by some people who are trying tarnish his image because of his ‘visions’.

“You know we are politicians and you know the game of politics, especially local politics, as people would want to destroy you once you have the visions. This is happening from my homestead. I have been in Ijebu for the past one week for the festivity. So, I am just getting back. So, it is all about some people; so, I know the game. But I can tell you that there is more to this than what we are seeing. It is just lies, blackmail and falsehood,” he said.

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“Look at the video and see that somebody was asking leading questions from the girl in question. They are not her original words.”

Abimbola Oyeyemi, spokesperson of the Ogun state police command told The ICIR that Kenneth Ebrimson, the state commissioner of police has directed a swift investigation into the allegation.

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