S*x scandal rocks UNILAG as Postgraduate student petitions ICPC over alleged sexual harassment by two lecturers
One Miss Jennifer Utulu, a postgraduate student of the University of Lagos has petitioned the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) against two of her lecturers over alleged abuse of office and sexual harassment, Truetells Nigeria reports.
Truetells Nigeria said that the two accused lecturers with the Department of Creative Arts are Dr. Felix Emoruwa and Dr. Adebisi Ademakinwa (associate professor).In the petition filed by Utulu through her lawyer, Anna Ofunu Ikwuta, Esq. from the Graylaw Practice LP, the student accused the lecturers of frustrating her postgraduate degree programme which she started in 2015 and ought to have completed in 2019 because she refused to have sex with them.
The petition dated June 23, 2023, and addressed to ICPC Chairman, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye is titled: “Petition against Dr Felix Emoruwa and Dr Adebisi Ademakinwa for abusing their offices by corruptly demanding sexual gratification from Miss Jennifer Utulu on account of supervising her Post Graduate Degree Thesis at the Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos contrary to Sections 12 and 14 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act No. 6 of 2003”.
The petitioner’s counsel, Ikwuta appealed to the anti-corruption agency to use the apparatus of government to protect her client from being threatened, harassed or harmed in any manner whatsoever while the investigation and prosecution of the case lasted.
Narrating how Miss Utulu was allegedly sexually harassed and frustrated with her academic pursuit by the lecturers, Ikwuta, in the petition obtained by SaharaReporters, informed the ICPC chairman that Dr. Ademakinwa (associate professor) told her client to travel abroad to study if she was not ready for s*x.
The petition reads: “Our client is a law-abiding citizen who gained admission into the Theatre Unit, Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos during the 2015/2016 Academic Session with Matriculation Number 129018043 for her MPhil/PhD Program.
“Trouble began for our client when she did her Masters Degree Program at the same University during the 2012/2013 Academic Session and Dr Felix Emoruwa was assigned as her Project Supervisor. It happened that the said Emoruwa developed likeness for our client and started making moves to have an amoral relationship with her.”
According to the petition, Emoruwa on some occasions told Miss Utulu that she was his ‘type’, a comment she considered as “casual and non-threatening,” even as she found it difficult to believe that a man who was supposed to be her mentor was harbouring evil intentions against her.
“As our client visited the office of Dr Emoruwa regularly to receive instructions on how to go about her Project, the lecturer started passing comments to her like ‘babeee, you are f***ing hot’.
“He went on to inquire about the preferred sex positions of our client and showed her numerous pornographic videos on his desktop whenever he has the opportunity to do so under the guise that he was working on a paper and wanted our client to read through,” the petition read.
The petition said from that moment, it became clear that Dr Emoruwa had at all material times looked for every possible means to frustrate “our client during her Masters Degree Program”.
“After rejecting several Project Topics submitted by our client, he finally picked one but would always pretend to be very busy and unable to peruse each Project Chapter submitted to him,” it said.
Also according to the petition, after so much frustration from Dr Emoruwa, she completed the programme and proceeded to do her PhD in the same department. “By 2015/2016 Academic Session, our client gained admission for her MPhil/PhD Program to specialize in Theatre Directing which had only three students at that time.
“She became the only student who took that PhD Course and performed excellently well, causing Prof Osita Ezewanebe her lecturer to give her Grade B. The next step was her Seminar 1 Thesis defence and she had to pick Dr. Felix Emoruwa as her Supervisor again as he was the only available lecturer at that time who specializes in Theatre Directing.
“Our client acted with the mindset that the PhD Program would be different since students and lecturers are assumed to be more mature. It happened that Dr Emoruwa asked our client to pick Associate Professor Adebisi Ademakinwa as her second Supervisor which she did, not knowing the trauma and agony that the lecturers had planned against her. Like a nightmare that refused to go away, Dr. Felix Emoruwa resumed his harassment of our client, but this time around he was more determined and persistent.
“In 2017, our client was to travel to the United Kingdom for her sister’s wedding and part of the requirements was for her Supervisor to sign a letter of identification and recommendation. Dr Emoruwa was delaying and our client had to meet him at the Postgraduate Office on 12th December, 2017 for signing.
“In his usual way of trying to harass our client, Dr. Emoruwa instead of signing the letter said these words to our client: “I am f***ing tired, if you don’t **** me I won’t sign this”, “… you know I like you, you drive me crazy ahhh”.
“Our client had to scream and express her anger at Dr Emoruwa before he signed the letter. Dr. Felix Emoruwa intentionally delayed attending to our client’s work under the pretense that he does not like reading. She had to source for other lecturers to go through her work and when she presents the work to him, he will start saying inappropriate words to her that he wants to see her breast and ‘come at her from behind’.
“Most of the time our client would laugh off the situation and warn Dr. Felix Emoruwa to desist from harassing her but nothing changed. Screenshots of vulgar messages sent by Dr. Felix Emoruwa from his telephone numbers to our client are attached as ANNEXURE 9.
“One day our client received a call from Associate Professor Adebisi Ademakinwa, her second Supervisor who sounded worried about the pace of her work. She decided to confide in him that Dr. Felix Emoruwa does not like reading her work and when he finally does, he edits and re-edits.
“Associate Professor Adebisi Ademakinwa scheduled a meeting at his office the next day by 7am and our client excitedly went to see him. Upon getting to his office, Associate Professor Adebisi Ademakinwa locked the door and asked our client to marry him.
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“When our client confronted him that he already has two wives and she is not interested in any marriage he replied in these words “it’s okay, it’s okay, if you say so, then why not just have sex with me right here” referring to the sofa/lounge chair where our client sat.
“Our client was so terrified and tried to run out of the office but the door was locked. While she sat back on the sofa, Associate Professor Adebisi Ademakinwa sat close to her and began to run his hands down her thighs saying “don’t worry, I have a condom in my pocket and you will be protected”.
“Our client had to shout at Associate Professor Adebisi Ademakinwa that she was not that type of girl before he stopped. He quickly perused her work, did little corrections and said he had some books that she may find useful at his house in Ikorodu if our client was interested.
“Our client replied that the distance was much but he could bring the books over to school and he reluctantly accepted to do so. She left the office broken and shocked that a lecturer who was supposed to be her father-figure in the University could do all those things to her.”
It added, “It took extra efforts for our client to overcome the huddles placed before her by Dr. Felix Emoruwa and Associate Professor Adebisi Ademakinwa. She later went to the most senior lecturer in Theatre Arts Department named Professor Duro Oni to co-supervise her. He gave her useful insight into her work and asked that she returned to Dr Emoruwa and Associate Professor Adebisi Ademakinwa, not aware of her plight in their hands.
“Our client out of frustration made some posts on her Instagram page about what Dr. Felix Emoruwa and Associate Professor Adebisi Ademakinwa were making her pass through on account of supervising her Thesis. This caught the attention of her colleague named Dr Toyin Olokodana who organized a meeting on 20th October, 2020 in the Conference Room of Creative Arts Department to reconcile the issues.
“At the meeting, Professor Duro Oni, Dr. Felix Emoruwa and Associate Professor Adebisi Ademakinwa were present and our client explained what prompted her to make the Instagram post.
“Upon hearing the allegations of sexual harassment made against Dr. Felix Emoruwa and Associate Professor Adebisi Ademakinwa by our client, Professor Duro Oni felt so disappointed and walked out of the meeting. On her part, Dr. Toyin Olokodana told our client to apologize to her Supervisors and she did so just for peace to reign.
“Afterwards, the Project work of our client began to suffer serious setbacks and she had to move from the hostel – Erastus Akingbola Postgraduate Hall to Ajah axis of Lagos to save costs because there seemed to be no date at sight when she would complete her Project work.
“Our client later moved to stay with her parents in Makurdi, Benue State and they sought to her finish the Project work at the Benue State University where her mother lectures. The Benue State University authority asked her to transfer her results from University of Lagos but the Sub Dean at the Postgraduate School, University of Lagos when contacted urged that she come back and look for a way to finish.
“In the midst of this difficult situation, Associate Professor Adebisi Ademakinwa began sending our client messages and advising her to go and study abroad since she does not want to submit herself for s*x.
“After all the back and forth without headway, our client decided to involve the University of Lagos authority by writing a letter dated 15th February, 2023 to the Vice Chancellor, Professor Folasade Tolulope Ogunsola, narrating her ordeal in the hands of her supervisors and seeking for an inquiry.”
‘Delay By University To Release Findings’
According to the petition, the University authority subsequently set up a Fact-finding Committee which later held an Interactive Session with the parties on March 6, 2023.
The petition further said, “Thereafter, parties were asked to go about their normal business as the Vice Chancellor would communicate the findings to them at a later date.
“It is over three months since the Fact-Finding Committee interacted with the parties but no response has been sent to our client from the Vice Chancellor till this moment. This has created suspicion in her mind that the University authority may have swept the allegations of sexual harassment under the carpet due to fellow feelings for Dr Emoruwa and Associate Professor Ademakinwa.
“Our client remains stuck with Course Work and Seminar 1 for the past six years whereas she was supposed to have graduated with PhD in 2019, all other things being equal. Consequent upon the foregoing, we urge the ICPC to come to the aid of our client being a helpless, dejected and frustrated lady whose only offence was to try to pursue higher education at the University of Lagos.”
The petitioner appealed to the anti-corruption agency to handle the issues raised in this petition with the urgency it deserves, to not only save the education of Miss Utulu but to bring the lecturers to justice for the offences they have committed.
“This will serve as a deterrent to other lecturers in Nigerian Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education whose stock in trade is to demand sex for marks,” it said.
When SaharaReporters contacted the accused lecturers for their reactions, they refused to speak on the matter until they got clearance from the University authority to do so.
They noted that since the university had set up a panel to investigate the matter and had yet to release its findings, it would be wrong to speak further on the matter.
Dr. Ademakinwa said, “This particular thing you are talking about is under the purview of the university. The university is actually investigating the so-called allegations.
“I think the appropriate authority to actually consult on this matter is the university because we have proven it beyond reasonable doubt that all the things alleged are mere tissues of lies.”
On his part, Dr. Emoruwa said, “The matter is with the university. She went to the university – my place of work – and this matter is pending there to that existent the university has set up a panel and the panel is investigating the matter.
“So I need to go back to them and inform them of the new dimension of the matter and I need to tell my side of the story.”
Efforts to get the reaction of the school authority were unsuccessful as its spokesperson, Ibraheem Alagba, neither answered calls nor reply to a text message sent to him.
Similarly, the school’s vice chancellor, Prof. Ogunsola did not answer her calls or reply to a text message sent to her mobile phone. It must be noted that there was an indication that both the VC and the spokesperson read the messages sent by SaharaReporters to their WhatsApp lines as the grey checkmarks that showed the messages had been delivered later changed to blue, indicating that they had been opened.