Abuja – The Consumer Protection council (CPC) has urged the management of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to prosecute a dismissed lecture of the institution allegedly involved in sexual harassment.
Mr Babatunde Irukera, the Director-General of CPC, made the appeal in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.
The university had recently indicted and dismissed a lecturer (name withheld) for alleged sexual harassment of a student through a sex-for-marks scandal.
Irukera said that this would serve as a deterrent to what appeared to have become a pervasive pattern of behaviour on many campuses.
“In addition, and as a further deterrent, OAU and other learning institutions should commit to eradicating sexual harassment by establishing or institutionalising effective redress mechanisms.
“This should include secure whistle-blowing opportunities for such cases, to protect both students and faculty,” Irukera said.
The director-general re-emphasised the need for learning institutions to assiduously address sexual harassment and other ancillary conducts to promote or restore institutional reputation.
This, he said, would ensure that students, being consumers of educational services, pursued scholarship on campuses that provided safe and liberal environments.
He said it would also ensure that the relationship between faculty and students lead to robust and confident knowledge sharing.
According to Irukera, both the approach of OAU and the outcome of its investigation convey the institution’s intolerance for despicable behaviour.
He said the action would inspire confidence that, going forward, such allegations would be thoroughly investigated, and when established, penalised to the full extent of the law.
“This exemplary response by OAU sets the standard and sends the appropriate message to other institutions, that learning and scholastic communities must be devoid of unacceptable behaviour.
“And that when such occurs, it will not be without consequence.
CPC had on April 30, condemned ” the credible allegation of sexual harassment” of a student by a member of faculty at the Obafemi Awolowo University.
The Council noted the prompt action of OAU in dissociating the institution from such inappropriate conduct and its commitment to a timely and fair investigation.
It urged the university to ensure that the investigation was broad and transparent while noting OAU’s responsiveness to the sensitivity of the issue and the written inquiries of the Council.
The Council further welcomed OAU’s decision to dismiss the member of faculty involved, and commended Ms. Monica Osagie, the alleged victim, for speaking up.
It said she demonstrated courage by securing credible evidence to substantiate her allegations.
“Her bravery and the appropriate response of OAU would embolden other victims to resist harassment and speak up when confronted,” it said.(NAN)