By Michael Egbejule and Ijeoma Thomas-Odia
A magistrate’s Court sitting in Ekpoma, Esan West Local Government Area of Edo State has convicted two females, Judith Ivie Okosun and Juliet Obehi Okosun, who are both graduates of the Ambrose Alli University (AAU).
Chief Magistrate Maltina Iluobe in charge sheet No: MEK/18C/2012, committed Juliet Obehi Okosun to two years imprisonment for unlawful detention and indecent assault on a university don.
The court held that Judith Ivie Okosun was also convicted for one year jail term for unlawful detention of the lecturer in connection with sexual harassment scandal, which precipitated to the dismissal of Dr. Peter Otubu, a lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Electronic, faculty of Engineering of Ambrose Alli University, over seven years ago.
The first and second accused persons were convicted with N20,000 an option of fine on count four, which bothers on indecent assault, while her sister, Juliet was found guilty on count eight for unlawful detention of the lecturer.
An elated Otubu said the judgment has vindicated him, adding that, “the principal suspect, Ivie Okosun, and her sister, Juliet have been jailed. Whether they were given an option of fine or not. I am satisfied, as the judgment has proved my innocence. To correct the erroneous impression, I was never dismissed from AAU, my appointment was terminated due to the video that was posted on the internet.”
Meanwhile, a human rights attorney and gender activist, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, has called for thorough investigation into the sexploitation of Ms. Monica Osagie, an MBA regular student of Obafemi Awolowo University, (OAU) Ile-Ife.
According to Akiyode-Afolabi, “contrary to the information coming from the university, Osagie was never invited by the school management to appear before any panel. I have been in contact with Osagie and have her instructions to inform the management of her willingness to appear before any school panel if and when duly invited.”
Calling on the school to ensure due diligence in this case, Akiyode-Afolabi is concerned about sexual exploitation, which has reached pandemic proportions in universities because institutions have failed to put in place appropriate mechanisms for complaint and redress. This has led to impunity where perpetrators of go unpunished.
She stressed that Osagie made efforts to inform senior members of the Faculty of Administrations about her predicament and no one was able or willing to intervene leaving her to resort to self-help in documenting her evidence.
The court recalled that Juliet Obehi Okosun (second accused person) had admitted in her evidence before the court that she had the key to the apartment where (first accused person), Judith Ivie Okosun, unlawfully assaulted Dr. Otubu who was held hostage and stripped naked at thier one room apartment in a private female hostel near the University campus on 17th July 2010.
In count 8, the court, ruled that the failure of Juliet Obehi Okosun to open the door of thier living room and release Dr. Otubu who was made to raise the sum of N100, 000. 00 (One Hundred Naira) cheque in favour of Judith Ivie Okosun for the inhuman treatment against Dr. Peter Otubu under the same circumstance.
The court specifically established that in the recorded video clips which was also posted in the internet by one Oziengbe, now at large, that the second accused person had told the court that she was in possession of the key to thier apartment where Dr. Peter Otubu was held, making her liable for conviction with an option of fine of N30, 000 for unlawful detention.
Chief Magistrate Maltina Iluobe, however, discharged and acquitted Judith Ivie Okosun (24) and Juliet Obehi Okosun (22) who were both undergraduate students at AAU at the time they were charged to court on count 1, 5, and 6 which bothers on conspiracy and stealing and frivolous petition against Dr. Peter Otubu, following the failure or the prosecution to prove to the court.
It also discharged and acquitted the 3rd to 7th accused persons, Esther Ogbeide (21), Samson Ogbeide (32), Igbudu Samuel (42), Ojeabulu Eghosa Clement (37) and Aruya Ohis Williams (24) for lack of substantial evidence.
The court particularly frowned at Dr. Peter Otubu’s conduct who it said “suffered from the sins of immorality to have gone to the room of his student which resulted in the show of shame”, humiliation and torture which left his career in ruins.
“This court is of the view that there is a very strong conspiracy and set up against the Dr. Peter Otubu, even though the defense Counsel had submitted before the court that suspicion does not amount to conspiracy,
The court also held that “throughout the length and breadth of the case, there is a thread which runs through criminal procedure of the case against the accused persons.
“Therefore, I hold that count 1, has not been proved as required by law.
“For count 2, the the first and second accused persons had testified that, the allegations were communicated to the school authorities about the show of shame.”I believe them in this because judging from the position of the the Principal Witness (PW1) and the first accused person, the whole truth was found and doctored, such situation is highly embarrassing to him as a lecturer, his family and the University Community”, the court said.
The court also confirmed that the Institution had launched an internal preliminary investigation into sexual harassment saga between Judith Ivie Okosun and Dr. Otubu who was her elective course lecturer in exchange to lay with her which may not have prevented her from graduating except her carryover courses had piled.
Responding, Counsel to the defendants, Mr. Olayowola Afolabi, align with the judgement on sexual promiscuity of PW1 as “a show of shame”, but however pleaded with the court for clemency for the convicted persons on ground that they were first offenders, stressing that the second convict is a nursing mother.