A senior lecturer in the Faculty of Science, Lagos State University (LASU), Dr. Ogunwande, Isiaka Ajani, who was recently dismissed for alleged sexual harassment of a student, has challenged his dismissal at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN).
According to court processes obtained by our correspondent at the court, Ogunwande was dismissed by LASU authorities following complaints by a female student, Miss Yusuf Abosede, who reported alleged amorous and sexual overtures of Ogunwande to her which she found distasteful.
In the suit filed through his counsel, Akinyemi Oladipo, the claimant joined the Governing Council, Lagos State University, the Vice Chancellor, the Registrar and the Chairman Joint Council/Senate (Academic) Disciplinary Committee Lagos State University as co-defendants.
Ogunwande, in his originating summons, alleged that he was not given fair hearing during the investigation conducted into the matter by the defendants before he was dismissed.
The defendants, however, in their joint response through their counsel, A,O Agbola of Cheakley Chambers, has asked the court to dismiss the suit, on the grounds that it is frivolous and baseless and totally lacking in merit.
In her complaints against Ogunwande, the student had alleged that the lecturer had been harassing her sexually. While appealing to the authorities to save her from the harrowing experience, she noted that the lecturer was going to conduct a test for them on Friday February 17th, 2017.
To ascertain the truth about the student’s allegation, the security operatives were placed on the alert.
After the test, the lecturer was alleged to have invited the female student to his office where he told her to forget about the test she just wrote with her colleagues as it would not be counted for her.
According to the documents filed in court, the claimant was alleged to have told the student that a special private tutorial session where she would re-write the test had been arranged for her in his office the following Sunday, February 19, 2017.
The female student informed the school authorities in details her discussion with the lecturer.
Unknown to Ogunwande, the security operatives were allegedly monitoring the situation and at about 11.00am on Sunday February 19, 2017 when the student entered, they waited for the right time before they swooped on the lecturer and the student. Both were arrested while the script for the re-write test was also seized.
In a desperate bid to avoid the embarrassment, Ogunwande was alleged to have given the security operatives a sum of N5,000 with a plea to them to bury the matter.
However, the securities operatives collected the money and attached it to their report to the university authorities in a memorandum dated June 26, 2018.
The claimant was subsequently issued a query to explain his role in the grave allegation of sexual harassment of his female student contained in the report.
He responded and answered the query accordingly.
His matter was further referred to the University Joint Council/Senate (Academic) Disciplinary Committee, which after considering the case recommended that Ogunwande be dismissed.
The recommendation was later ratified and approved by the Council.
In the suit, the claimant is praying the court to quash the decision to dismiss him and set aside his dismissal, while the defendants insist that all the laid down rules and regulations were followed before the claimant was found culpable in the grave allegation of sexual harassment of his student.
The suit is pending before Justice Obaseki-Osaghae.