*Commissioner: ‘It’s political blackmail’
A 16-year-old secondary school student, Barakat Mayowa Melojuekun Saturday accused the Ogun State Commissioner for Environment, Abiodun Abudu-Balogun of sexual harassment.
Barakat, who is a student of Victory Model College, in Ogun Waterside Local Government Area, made the allegation in a video posted on Facebook on Saturday.
According to her, the incident happened on December 31, 2020.
The teenager alleged that Abudu-Balogun, who was member of the House of Representatives, conniving with her uncle and a teacher lured her to the commissioner’s residence at Ita Otu, Ogun Waterside LGA.
She said she was lured to the commissioner’s house on the pretence that Abudu-Balogun would assist her in securing a job as computer operator.
Narrating her ordeal, she said: “On getting to Honourable Abudu’s house at Ita Otu, he said I should sit down inside the car that I must not get down. Then a lady, named Mariam Eniola from Ita Out came to take me to one living room. Then Mr. Austin entered and asked, why did I not pick my phone yesterday, I answered that I was not with my phone, he said okay, then took me to a room inside the Honourable’s house.
“The Honourable then came in and Mr. Austin (a teacher) went out. Honourable Abudu locked the door instantly and put the key in his pocket. So he moved closer to me and asked the name of my school; he said how much is my school fees and I told him that it is N30,000; he asked me the person paying my school fees, I told him that it is my dad. He said okay that one is small thing. He said do I plan to start a business, I said no, that I want to go to a higher institution first.
“He said how much would I need, I said any amount; he said I should state an amount, I said any amount.
“He moved closer to me and he touched my breast; I moved away that he should not touch my breast, he asked me that won’t I cooperate, I said why I will cooperate. Then he started pressing (fondling) my breast and my body; I was struggling to free myself from him. Then he started reciting some incantation and wanted to place his hands on my head, I moved my head and said he should not touch my head. He wanted to force me inside the bathroom, then I started shouting.
“Because people are around his compound and he did not want them to know what was happening, he left me; he gave me N2000 for transport and asked me to leave; I rejected the money; he said if I don’t accept the money, he won’t let go of me. So I collected the money and he opened the door.
“He then told Mr. Austin to take me to our house.
“This has never happened to me in my life.”
But in a swift reaction, the commissioner, in a statement personally signed, described the allegation as “political blackmail” by those he called his “adversaries.”
He said: “On this said day, the girl was brought to my house by one of my loyalists who is her uncle, to assist her get a job as a Computer Operator at the ICT Centre I facilitated while I was serving as a member of House of Representatives years back which has been moribund but I am about to rehabilitate in order to empower more youths in our local government.
“I met her at my sitting room for few minutes where many of my loyalists are, people that came to visit me for the New Year. I chatted with the lady for few minutes and as part of my usual gesture, I gave her some amount of money for her transportation.
“A day after, I was informed by some people that I have been alleged to have attempted to sexually harass the girl and I should invite the family for a meeting so as to settle the matter amicably. It was after my refusal to yield to their threats that they went ahead to make a teleguided video leading the lady on what to say to implicate me. This is purely a political blackmail by my adversaries.
“Let me state emphatically that I never attempted to sexually harass anyone.”
Our correspondent learnt that Police have commenced investigation into the allegations against the commissioner.
Our correspondent sighted an invitation letter sent to the Commissioner to report to the Divisional Police Headquarters, Abigi, in respect to the allegations against.
The Police Spokesman, Abimbola Oyeyemi while confirming commencement of the probe, in a Whatsapp post, on Saturday, said: “The case is presently being investigated by the Area commander, Ogbere. The outcome will be made public.”