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UNILAG sets up panel to investigate sexual harassment allegation against professor in English dept

THE management of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) has set up an investigative panel to look into allegations of sexual harassment against Olusegun Awonusi, a professor of English Studies at the University.

Awonusi, who was the former Vice-Chancellor of Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ijagun, Ogun State, was accused of harassing female students and threatening to fail them if they refused his advances.

The investigative panel is therefore calling on anyone, particularly staff and students of the institution, to volunteer any information they feel could help in the investigation.

This is according to a statement issued signed by the University’s, Directorate of Student Affairs and made available to The ICIR on Friday.

“The University of Lagos Management has set up a Fact Finding Panel to investigate the allegation of sexual harassment involving a Lecturer in the University published in various social media platform,” the statement read.

“The panel has commenced investigation into the allegation and is requesting the members of the University of Lagos community (Particularly Staff and Students) who have useful information on this specific allegation and any other one that could aid its assignment to submit memoranda to the panel.

“The memoranda should be addressed to the Secretary, Fact Finding Panel on the Allegation of Sexual Harassment involving a Lecturer in the University, c/o Registrar’s Office, 5th Floor Senate Building, University of Lagos.

“The memoranda, in sealed envelopes, should be submitted from Monday 11th to Friday 15th June, 2018 in the Registrar’s Office. Confidentiality of responses is assured.”

The ICIR had reported how a female student of UNILAG leaked nude pictures of Olusegun Awonisi to popular Nigerian blogger, Linda Ikeji, alleging that the professor has severally forced her to have sex with him or fail his papers.

“I have been suffering this for months now. Whenever students go to his office for anything he is always trying to touch you,” the student told LindaIkeji.com.

“I have completely given up when it comes to academics. He has failed me on tests before. When I talked to him concerning it he told me I should know what to do I am an adult. I feel so dirty for even allowing such an old man touch me. But he doesn’t even care.

“He should be stopped before he ruins the lives of other innocent girls in that English department. When he touches me I am always in tears but it doesn’t stop him. Please this is why I am reaching out all I want is for him to be stopped. He is destroying the mental state of girls in Unilag.”

When The ICIR contacted Awonusi over the allegations, he did not pick calls made to his phone line, rather he sent a two-worded text message reading, “send text”.

A text message sent to him since June 1 is yet to be responded to, while subsequent calls have gone unanswered.

The ICIR also contacted UNILAG’s Principal Assistant Registrar, communications Unit, Mrs Taiwo Oloyede, who said she could not comment as the University authority had already issued a press statement to that regard.

New Telegraph newspaper had quoted Awonusi as saying that he got a call from a strange person who said she was in possession of his nude photos and would leak them unless he paid her N400,000.

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