A former Head of Department of Criminology, and Professor at the Federal University Oye-Ekiti in Ekiti State Professor Adewole Atere, has been accused of impregnating a 16-year-old student in his department Precious Azuka.
The girl reportedly fell for the Professor’s love claim after one of his subordinates, Dr. Chinedu Abrifor pressured her into believing that she was ‘mature enough’ for Prof. Atere when they met in March 2017.
In her confession when she appeared before a fact-finding committee set up by the office of the then acting dean of students’ affairs E.O Adeyemi, Azuka who was 16-years-old at the time of the incident said it caused a disagreement with her boyfriend Kayode Fasanya. He broke up with her when it became clear that she was dating the Prof. Atere.
“A few days after Dr Abrifor approached me, he accompanied Prof. Atere to my hostel and they took me to their house at Aiyegbaju where I spent the night. I was returned to the hostel by 6 a.m. the following day. This practice continued for weeks” she said.
She got to know she was pregnant two months into the amorous relationship and almost everyone within and outside the hostel knew her story.
“I opted for abortion instantly but a doctor I saw said he doesn’t do it. So, when I got to the hostel, I took lipton tea and lime which made me to experience serious blood flow. When I didn’t see my menstruation the following months, I didn’t bother. I thought it had cleared,” she told the investigating team.
“The laboratory official introduced me to Dr. Dada who eventually helped me out on Wednesday, July 26,” Azuka said.
However because she was already 21 weeks into the pregnancy, Premium Times reported that the doctor said dilation and curettage (D&C) could no longer be conducted and then offered to induce Azuka to labour. That took place on July 27, 2017.
After one of the cleaners found a well wrapped cellophane bag dripping blood, she and her colleagues decided to trace its source after they noticed it was fresh. Azuka was found in the hostel writhing in pain and was rushed to the university’s clinic where she was placed on admission, but discharged the following day July 28, 2017.
“It was a Thursday morning and most of the students in the hostel had left for lectures. So it was easy to identify which room still had its occupant around. That was how Azuka was found in the room writhing in pain. She had lost so much blood that she could hardly talk,” a university source said.
Report of the fact-finding sub-committee which was setup to look into the matter after an Ado-Ekiti based legal practitioner Olaolu Ayodele, petitioned the school, was submitted to the vice-chancellor’s office on August 14, 2017.
“In the cause of our investigation, we gathered that after Azuka had been discharged, on August 2, 2017, Dr. Abrifor called her and Kayode Fasanya for a meeting in his office at the faculty. On getting there, Dr. Abrifor asked them to meet him at the mini campus junction by 6 p.m. same day where they were driven to Ifaki Ekiti for another meeting.
“At the meeting, Azuka said Dr. Abrifor accused Kayode Fasanya of impregnating her, and this led to an argument which was later settled when Dr. Abrifor made a call to his wife and asked her to calculate conception from March to July. She did and said it would be between 21 to 22 weeks, which was exactly what the test result claimed.
He apologized to Fasanya but asked him to claim responsibility to protect Prof. Atere’s image.
“He also promised that the money spent on the abortion would be refunded, and that Fasanya would be rewarded handsomely including good academic grades.
Mr. Fasanya was expected to come with Azuka the next day to lecturers’ house at Aiyegbaju, but she was indisposed to couldn’t make it.
“When Fasanya got to Aiyegbaju, he met Dr. Abrifor and Prof. Shola Omotola of political science department. They repeated the request that Fasanya should claim the pregnancy but he told them he would think about it. They also said a meeting with the director of administration on the campus, Mr. Odusanya, had been scheduled for Tuesday, August 8, when all parties involved would sign an agreement that would be binding. But according to her, this meeting never held” the report added.
On the evening of August 10, Mr Abrifor sent Azuka N20,000 through Adeleke Abiodun said to be another student of the department. She further revealed that she was charged N13,000 for the abortion but deposited N11,500 and was to pay N1,500 if she had returned for medications as scheduled.
Professor Atere resigned from his job at the Federal University Oyo-Ekiti shortly after the panel submitted its report. While some colleagues accused him of abscondment, others alleged that he was protected by the vice-chancellor. He is now a lecturer at the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) Ago-Iwoye in Ogun State.
Speaking on why they couldn’t bring the charges against Professor Atere as stated in the submitted report, FUOYE’s vice-chancellor Kayode Soremekun said Mr Atere left permitted resignation without notice. Revealing that the victim’s parents said they were not interested in prosecution, the vice-chancellor also denied receiving report of any subcommittee from the office of the then acting dean of students’ affairs.
“I had no power to stop him when he tendered his resignation letter because the law allowed him then. We have just reviewed our law to ensure that appropriate steps are taken before anyone could retire or resign. In fact, we have submitted it to the governing council and what we are waiting for is the approval.
“They sent one reverend sister to me that we should lay the matter to rest. So what do I do in that circumstance? The decision was theirs I think.
“I am not aware of any report by any committee set up by any dean. I have told you why we could not act. And if I may ask, why are you just bringing up this issue at this time? This matter happened two years ago now,” Mr Soremekun said.
However a document containing the university’s conditions of service which was approved in 2015 by the institution’s governing council, countered the Vice Chancellor’s claim as it clearly spelt out conditions to be met when exiting the system.
“A professor or other officer of equivalent grade not a principal officer as defined by the Act unless he is appointed for a specific contractual period, may terminate his appointment after having given to the council not less than six month notice in writing of his intention to do so. In exceptional cases, vice-chancellor may waive part or all of such notice and shall thereafter report to the council.
“In fact, Prof. Atere erred by his abrupt resignation and his action qualified for abscondment,” a source said.
It was further learnt that Azuka who is now in 300 level reiterated that Mr Atere was responsible for her pregnancy. She however declined further comments as she said that all she wants at this time is to graduate.
The accused lecturer when approached by Premium Tumes said the allegation is not true but refused to explain his own side of the matter. “That is not true. It is not true” he said before ending the call abruptly and refusing to pick calls thereafter.