Director General, CPC, Babatunde Irukera
The Consumer Protection Council has commended the authorities of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, for the “prompt and urgent actions” it took to address the allegation of sex for marks established by a leaked and widely circulated audio clip between a post graduate student of the institution, Miss Monica Osagie, and her lecturer, Professor Richard Akindele.
The Director General of the Council, Babatunde Irukera who gave the commendation called for wider consultation of stakeholders while encouraging OAU to ensure that the investigation is broad, balanced and all-inclusive.
He called on all relevant authorities in OAU and other institutions to address all forms of sexual misconduct in order to restore institutional reputation and ensure that students, being consumers of educational services, are able to pursue scholarship in institutions and on campuses that provide safe, secure and liberal environment where the relationship between faculty and students leads to robust and confident knowledge sharing.
A statement from the Council, signed by the Director General said: “To promote confidence, equity and fairness, the Council recommends that OAU authorities, in handling this case, include people and views from all relevant stakeholders including faculty, professional disciplinary bodies, student representation, relevant civil society specializing in sexual harassment, gender objectification, consumer protection and relevant institutions such as the National Human Rights Commission and the Council.
He further said investigative process must encourage both identified and anonymous contributions, while protecting the identities and confidential information of the courageous people who will provide information that assists the investigation.
“In addition, the authorities must provide necessary safeguards that, such persons are not otherwise victimised, “blacklisted” or subjected to any reprisal on account of their cooperation with the investigation.
While saying that the CPC keenly followed the controversy, Irukera noted that “a transparent, comprehensive and decisive approach to a matter of this nature is vital for reputation and quality of education.
He said “failure to fully and sufficiently address the issue compromises the entire institution and victimizes not only the students who are directly solicited, induced or compelled, but others who decline, and those who are not considered or propositioned, because educational outcomes skewed by such factors operate to the disadvantage of all, especially where class rank is a factor in evaluating performance.”
The Council further commended the expressed commitment of OAU to an open and transparent investigation, as well as the promise to publish the outcome of the investigation.