Alleged rape: Police mum on UNILAG lecturer’s arraignment

THE Lagos State Police Command has failed to speak on the arraignment of a lecturer at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Kadiri Akeem Babalola, who was accused of raping a 20-year-old female student of the institution in 2023.

The ICIR contacted the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Benjamin Hundeyin for an update on the case.

When filing this report on Thursday, January 25, he had yet to reply to texts sent to his phone number on November 20 and January 24.

Babalola, an associate professor, was accused by the student of raping her on August 16, 2023, when she visited his office to sort out issues concerning her results.

A non-governmental organisation, Inclusive Social Welfare and Empowerment Foundation (ISWEF), got involved and reported the case to the Gender Unit of the Lagos State Police Command, after which a warrant was issued for Babalola’s arrest.

Hundeyin had confirmed the incident via his official X handle in September 2023, saying the lecturer would be arraigned “in the coming days.”

However, Hundeyin told The ICIR the following week that the arraignment was being stalled due to Babalola’s ill health.

Sexual harassment has been a recurrent issue in Nigerian tertiary institutions, and female students are mostly the targets.

A survey carried out by the World Bank in 2018 showed that classmates and lecturers sexually harassed 70 per cent of Nigerian female graduates while in school.

“The effects experienced by victims were depression and perceived insecurity on campus,” the report said.

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Although the Minister of Education Tahir Mamman has threatened to deal decisively with lecturers and other members of tertiary institutions involved in sexual harassment, the Nigerian government failed to assent to a bill criminalising the act, which was passed by the National Assembly nearly four years ago.




     

     

    The bill, titled “A Bill for an Act to Prevent, Prohibit and Redress Sexual Harassment of Students in Tertiary Institutions and for Matters Concerned Therewith 2019,” was sponsored by former Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege and 106 other senators.

    It proposed a 14-year jail term for offenders.

    Former Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari did not assent to the bill till he left office in May 2023.

    The ICIR reports that before the bill can be passed by the incumbent President Bola Tinubu, it has to be re-introduced to the National Assembly.

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    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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