Justice Maurine Onyetenu of the Federal High Court sitting in Osogbo, Monday sentenced former lecturer of Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, Prof. Richard Iyiola Akindele, to six years imprisonment for demanding sex to pass her student, Monica Osagie.
The accused had pleaded not guilty to the charge of sexual harassment preferred against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offenses Commission, ICPC. He had since then been remanded in prison custody following objection to his bail by the prosecution ICPC.
When the case came up on Monday, Akindele opted to change his earlier plea and admitted guilty of the offences as charged. He was arraigned before Justice onyetenu on November 19 for alleged sexual harassment.
Meanwhile, efforts by the defence counsel to suspend the sentencing and negotiate for plea bargain failed, as Justice Onyetenu frowned at the rampant cases of students harassment by lecturers.
Justice Onyetenu said “the plea bargain is not absolute. The court still have discretion.
“This kind of issue is too rampant in our tertiary institutions. We send children to school, they come home telling us that lecturers want to sleep with them.
“We can not continue like this. Somebody has to be used as example. Even primary schools pupils are complaining. Telling me to suspend sentence does not arise. Plea bargain does not arise. May be the case continue to occur and reoccur because someone has not been used as example.
“It is time for the court to start upholding the right of the children, especially female students. The case is endemic. Counsel to the defendant, Mr. Francis Omotosho, informed the court that the defendant has lost his job and has learnt his lesson.
He told the court that the University has discovered the mistake in the marking of the examination paper of the victim and has concluded plans to compensate her. The Counsel further told the court that plans are ongoing to make offices of the lecturers open by building the front side with glasses at OAU.
But, the Judge, who apparently not convinced with the prayer of the Counsel, said “do you think they do it in the office? They go to hotel. Counsel to the ICPC, Mr. Shogunle Adenekan, urged the court to confiscate the mobile phone of the defendant and forfeit it to the federal government, saying that sensitive materials were discovered there during forensic.
He also urged the court to grant order, releasing the mobile phone of the victim, Monica. After considering the plea bargaining entered and signed by the Counsels, the Judge said there is a need to deter other people because of the nature of the case.
In her judgement, Justice Onyetenu sentenced the convict to 24 months on count one, 24 months on count two, 1 year on count three and 1 year on count four. She said the jail term should run concurrently.
She also ordered that the Samsung X4 of the victim should be returned to her and the Samsung X8 of the convict should be forfeited to the federal government.