Ogun Govt suspends commissioner over alleged sexual harassment of a teenager
Ogun State Government has suspended Abiodun Abudu-Balogun, the state’s Commissioner for Environment.
Abudu-Balogun was suspended on Sunday, January 3, 2020, over an allegation of sexual harassment of a 16-year-old girl, Barakat Mayowa Melojuekun.
The suspension was announced in a statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Tokunbo Talabi.
Talabi explained that the commissioner was suspended to enable him to cooperate fully with the independent investigation being carried out by the police.
The statement reads in part, “Whilst taking cognisance of the principle of a suspect being presumed innocent until proven guilty and the public statement issued by Honourable Abudu-Balogun denying the allegation, as a government with zero tolerance for gender-based violence and indeed any criminality, the suspension is a further demonstration of the commitment of Dapo Abiodun administration to fairness, equity, justice and the rule of law, no matter who is involved.”
He, however, assured the residents of the state that the state government would do everything necessary to ensure justice prevailed in the case.
He further said that the suspended commissioner has been directed to hand over to the Permanent Secretary at his ministry.
Narrating her ordeal, Barakat, a secondary school student, who accused the suspended commissioner of attempting to rape her said she met Abudu-Balogun on Tuesday, December 29, 2020, but the incident occurred on New Year’s Eve.
The teenager said while she was waiting at a park in Ogun Waterside Local Government Area for a motorcycle that would convey her to the office of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) for National Identification Number (NIN) registration, the suspended commissioner, who was said to be driving stopped the car and offered her a lift, but she declined.
After the encounter, Barakat alleged that she started receiving calls from an unknown person who claimed to be the commissioner’s aide and two days later, she was taken to his residence by her uncle, who according to her was not aware of the commissioner’s intention.
She said the commissioner took her to his house to operate a computer and then lured her to his bedroom, adding that she was allowed to go after she shouted at the top of her voice.
The victim thereafter narrated the incident to her parents, who reported the case to the police.
Source: Pulse Nigeria