A federal high court sitting in Ibadan has discharged and acquitted a lecturer at the University of Ibadan, Martins Fabunmi, of alleged sexual harassment of a student of the institution, Thelma Adoseh.
As a result of the allegation, the university management had reportedly dismissed the professor from service.
The presiding judge, Justice J. O. Abdulmalik while delivering judgment said it was curious that parents, whose children were accused of assault and armed robbery or whose daughter was sexually abused would in turn write a letter of apology to the alleged molester.
He noted that “the ‘Exhibit E’ definitely deflates the hype from the applicants’ suits because it begs reasoning”.
Professor Fabunmi had earlier reported Adoseh, Kolawole Adesina, Peter Ogere and Olufemi Adesina, students of the institution at Ibadan Divisional Police Station, Sango over allegation of assault and armed robbery and upon which they were arrested and later granted administrative bail.
But, the suspects jumped bail and this informed why the police contacted their sureties, Messers Ogundele Oyeleke and Adeleye Adebayo, who are both staff of the university to produce them.
The sureties then approached the applicants to save them from police harassment by producing their children.
But, instead of producing the suspects, the parents of the suspects headed to court and filed suits against the police authorities and the embattled lecturer, Fabunmi.
In the three separate suits marked FHC/IB/CS/69/2016, FHC/IB/CS/70/2016 and FHC/IB/CS/71/2016 filed by three of the parents of the students, Mrs. Stella Ogere, Major Joseph Adesina (rtd) and Mr. Innocent Lucky Adoseh respectively before Justice J.O. Abdulmalik of the Federal High Court, Ibadan, they complained that it was not proper for the police to arrest them for alleged offence committed by their children.
The applicants through their counsel, Olapade Delano and Olumide Oridupa argued that their arrest for not being able to produce their children to face charges for the offence allegedly committed by them was ‘unlawful, unconstitutional and breach of their fundamental rights to personal liberty and human dignity and freedom of movement’ as guaranteed by the constitution of Nigeria.
They subsequently prayed the court to restrain the respondents from violating or infringing on their fundamental rights as well as the payment of twelve million Naira (N12,000,000.00.) as damages.
Having listened to counter arguments by the respondents’ counsel, S.E. Aruwaji who held brief for the Police and Femi Aborisade and Nweke C. Umunna, counsel for Fabunmi, the judge held that the applicants instituted the suit as a decoy to lure the police authorities from their investigation.
Justice Abdulmalik said, “I find from the entire submissions in applicants’ applications that there is no reasonable cause of action in the motions against the respondents”.
The court held that the applicants failed to debunk the fact that the suspects were not reasonably indicted by the police authorities pursuant to the complaint of Fabunmi to warrant their production by their sureties.
Relying on ‘Exhibit J’ which is the letter of apology from applicants’ children and ‘Exhibit E’ which is another letter of apology signed by the parents themselves from which the judge quoted that “we are convinced that the case is a set up against you and we therefore apologise on their behalf and plead with you to tamper justice with mercy”, the judge added that it was curious that parents, whose children were accused of assault and armed robbery or whose daughter was sexually abused would in turn write a letter of apology to the villain.
He added “the ‘Exhibit E’ definitely deflates the hype from the applicants’ suits because it begs reasoning”.