By Falmata Bassi
Nigeria’s African Students Education Support Initiative (ASESI), has assured Miss Oko Osinachi of justice over her alleged sexual harassment by the Head of Marketing Department, Federal Polytechnic, Uwanna, Afikpo, Ebonyi State in the southeast region of the country.
ASESI’s Executive Director, Mr Chinonso Obasi, in a statement on Saturday in Abuja the nation’s capital, recalled that the group started canvassing for justice for the female student in December, 2018.
Obasi said that ASESI began its independent investigation on Dec. 3, 2018 with a visit to miss Osinachi in her workplace, Timber-shade market Afikpo.
The executive director said that the victim gave a full account of the pressure mounted by the lecturer; her decline and the resultant victimization by failing the lecturer’s course alongside other setbacks in her academics.
She said, however, that the lecturer did not rape her despite the sexual advances.
“I want to graduate with my mates and I wish to appeal to ASESI to mandate necessary authorities to prohibit lectures from inviting students against their will to places outside the assigned offices and classrooms.
“The businesses of lecturers must start in school environment and end within the school except on mutual agreement between the both parties,’’ Obasi quoted Osinachi as saying.
Obasi said that the lecturer in his own account told ASESI that the drama was uncalled for as the whole situation was politically motivated by those who were working had to make sure his hard earned name and integrity was tarnished.
He said that the lecturer appreciated Osinachi for standing by the truth that he never raped her nor forced her to bed as detractors exaggerated.
Obasi said that the rector of the institution Ven. Ibe Enwo, told the ASESI delegates that a lot of groups had been calling on the matter, adding that he was glad that ASESI had gone far in finding the facts by visiting physically.
“Our institution is a government owned and we acknowledge written memos for documentation purposes.
“My attention was called upon by the Deputy Rector Administration, Elder Ibiam who stood-in for me as Acting Rector when I travelled overseas to represent other Rectors in Sweden.
“I mandated him to act on it as I await briefing when I return. We have a committee already on the matter; the lecturer, Mr Chris Izuma, has been relinquished of his post as the head of the Department of Marketing.
“He was not also allowed to partake in the contest for the Deanship in the school of Business because of the allegations leveled against him.
“I wish to establish a fact in the case which is concerning the allegation that the lecturer failed his student intentionally in the course.
“We have sent her script to an external examiner and it was remarked with a confirmation that she failed the course and not that her lecture failed her.
“Osinachi failed the course because she failed.
“I am a Pastor in the church of God therefore, I condemn any form of sexual harassment and I must stand to protect my children who’re the students of the institution that I govern,’’ Obasi quoted the Rector as saying.
Obasi said that he thanked all the parties for their sincere cooperation in carrying out the tedious assignment.
He said that ASESI waded into the matter because student was involved, adding that the happiness of every African Student was ASESI’s utmost concern.
“A student who is not in a good mood cannot comprehend or assimilate anything being taught in the classroom.
“We are concerned that Osinachi’s psychological and emotional feelings have been tampered with and we look forward to seeing that she gets justice.
“We are impressed with the steps taken so far by the management of the institution as we continue to assure Osinachi that justice shall prevail for her.
“If you’re an African Student faced with any form of oppression or maltreatment feel free to report to ASESI through firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We are here to be your voice,” Obasi said.