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.
Malami Defies Social Distancing Directive, Says Courts Expected To Sit During Lockdown
Courts are expected to attend to matters that are urgent, essential or time-bound, even during the lockdown, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has said.
Malami, a senior advocate, said this in a statement issued by Dr Umar Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Minister.
“Speedy dispensation of justice is a cardinal principle of the Justice Sector Reform of the present administration, hence, time-bound cases are treated with dispatch and accorded the required attention,” Malami was quoted as said.
Malami had given the directive of the speedy dispensation of time-bound cases in a letter addressed to all heads of court on Wednesday, conveying the COVID 19 Regulation 2020.
He said that the earlier directive issued by the Chief of Justice of Nigeria (CJN) is in tandem with the COVID-19 Regulations 2020 made pursuant to Quarantine Act 2004 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Coronavirus Humbles Me, Immigration Boss Speaks From Isolation
The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammed Babandede, has said being infected with coronavirus is a humbling experience.
Babandede, who spoke from isolation for the first time since he announced that he tested positive for COVID-19 upon his return from the UK on March 22, said Nigerians should pray that the number of cases in the country doesn’t explode further.
In a video he released on Wednesday night, the immigration boss said people all over the country, especially kinsmen from his village, have been gracious with their prayers and show of love towards him.
He said, “Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I will like to thank all my friends, loved ones, officers and men, Muslims and Christians in Nigeria and abroad for the enormous prayers for my quick recovery. I am very grateful for your prayers. In reality, your prayers are helping me recover very quickly.
“I thank Allah for giving me the opportunity to be sick because it gives me the opportunity to humble myself, to also know that I am loved by such a large number of people.
“Today, the 1st of April, I am sending this short video to you to tell you I’m doing well and recovering gradually.
“Please take care always, wash your hands and maintain social distance.
“Continue to pray that Nigeria does not head towards any disaster. The numbers are still small but continue to pray that it does not grow.
“I send my love to you, especially people from my village – people from Kano, Lagos, Abuja, everywhere I can’t even mention. Thank you for your love. Maa Salam.”
Nigeria has recorded over 170 cases of COVID-19 and two attendant deaths.
Lagos and Abuja, the two cities with the highest number of patients, are currently observing a 14-day lockdown while Ogun State would commence its own effective Friday as part of measures to curb the community transmission of the virus which has infected over 900,000 people globally.
BREAKING: Markets To Open From 10am To 2pm Daily In Lagos, Ogun During COVID-19 Lockdown — FG
The Federal Government has announced that all markets in states where a lockdown was imposed (Lagos, FCT, and Ogun) will be allowed to open between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm daily.
The National Co-ordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Aliyu Sani, said this on Wednesday during a briefing by members of the task force.
“For markets, only shops and stalls selling food and groceries shall be allowed to open to customers between the hours of 10:00 am and 2:00 pm,” he said.
Meanwhile, for supermarkets and food stores, their opening hours must be between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm and all owners and managers have been warned to screen staff and customers before entry.
“On arrival, all staff must be screened for a high temperature and all those found to have a high body temperature above 38, will be denied entry and advised to seek immediate medical attention.
“All deliveries for supplies and products for these supermarkets must be made between the hours of 5:00 am and 9:00 am,” Sani added.
He further stated that at any point in time, the total number of customers inside each store must not exceed a third of the store’s total capacity.
After their closure at 4:00 pm, Sani urged shop owners to ensure that all shelves, aisles, and stores are cleaned and disinfected and by 6:00 pm, staff are conveyed back to their respective homes.