A 17-year old female 200 level student of the University of Ilorin has narrated to an investigative panel how a lecturer raped her and upgraded her test score in return.
Naija News understands that a related scandal involving a lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University rocked the citadel of learning last year.
The victim told a panel that it all started when she requested assistance with signing her course form after she became frustrated with the official who was originally supposed to sign the document.
It was also learned that she also spoke to him about her inability to pay for a matriculation gown at a crowded campus bank.
The Arts Education teacher, introduced by a graduate friend to help keep an eye on her academic progress, never asked for a romantic relationship nor propositioned her, the 200 level student said.
Then, one day in February this year, the man locked her in his office, pushed her to a table and raped her. The man allegedly covered her mouth to stifle screams and later left her alone in the office after the encounter.
The accused staff, Solomon Olowookere, a senior lecturer, denied the allegations.
He although, confirmed to helping the student multiple times but denied there was any possibility of a sexual incident between them. Mr Olowookere said the story was made-up.
But Premium Times reports that multiple interviews with senior university officials, including the head of Department of Arts Education, the dean of Faculty of Education and the dean of Students’ Affairs, confirmed the attack occurred.
The officials said Mr. Olowookere had admitted to them he assaulted the girl and had pleaded for help, but later changed his testimony. They said in committing the act, the lecturer abused his position further by increasing the student’s test score as compensation.
After some investigations by a panel set up by the university to review the case, it was recommended that the lecturer be dismissed.
Two months after the report, seen by Premium Times, was submitted to the authorities, the university is yet to act, either by adopting or rejecting it. The lecturer has also remained in the employment of the institution.
The vice-chancellor of the university, Sulyman Abdulkareem, told Premium Times he would prefer not to comment on the matter because it “was in court” already. He said the school would make its decision known later.
A spokesperson for the university, Tunde Akogun, also declined comment, saying he had not been briefed on the case.
The victim contradicted most of Mr Olowookere’s claims.
Student Insists Lecturer Raped Her
The student said she first met the lecturer a few weeks after she was transferred from the Faculty of Social Sciences to Education. She said she was at the level adviser’s office when Mr. Olowookere asked her to get him water from one of the shops. She delivered.
She said on another day, she met the man when she had issues with signing her course form. She said Mr. Olowookere assured he could sign the form personally since his signature was recognized in the faculty and could be honoured.
The level adviser later signed the form, and she returned to the lecturer’s office to inform him not to bother. She also paid for her matriculation gown after initial difficulty.
The student said as she was leaving the faculty, Mr Olowookere drove in and asked her to see him in his office. There, the lecturer showed her her script for a course test he was only asked by the head of department to help invigilate.
She scored 24 over 40, but he offered to raise to 30. The student said she declined the offer. He said the lecturer continued and said the course was tedious, and she did not argue with him again.
She said the lecturer started asking about her state and church and finally allowed her leave. But as she stood up and took her bag, the man locked the door. She said she tried to open the door but he would not allow her. The duo struggled before he pushed her to a table.
She said she tried to scream but the man covered her mouth with his hand. The attacker pulled down her underwear and forcefully penetrated her. After the incident, he left her in the office.
“I wore my cloth and walked out of his office to one corner as I did not want anybody to see me,” she said.
It was her first sexual experience, she said. Asked by the committee what signs she felt, she described swelling in her genitals. She said she reported to the hospital hours later, and was told she was late in coming.
“They said whatever test they would have done then there would have been a lot of evidence. I went a day after the incident and they did not find much of him in me. I had swelling but no bruises at all,” she said.
There was no blood stain on her clothing after the alleged attack, the student said.
“Semen, I don’t know about that. But as for blood stain, there was no blood stain on my underwear. I did not do proper scrutiny of my underwear I just soaked it in water because it was not something I want to be talking about.”
The committee pressed further: “Or maybe he did not penetrate? He only attempted to?” She responded: “He did. In the medical report it was stated there.”
Asked why she did struggle or shout, especially since the man covered her mouth with one hand, meaning he used only one to attack her, she answered, “I want to believe that I have some level of strength, but not enough to overpower him to make my way out of his office.”
On why she turned down the favour of a score upgrade, she answered: “First of all, I am Christian and it is against my religion to have aid to enable me pass a course. In my family they won’t encourage failure.”
The panel pressed further:
Q: From what you have said, this thing definitely happened, but the other party said that it did not happen at all; are you sure you are not lying?
A: “I am not lying sir.”
Q: Are you trying to implicate him for some reasons? You are a good Christian, you should know that God is watching you and God is always with the righteous. You know the implication of getting him involved in this?”
A: “Yes, I do sir. For a case as delicate as this one, I don’t think anybody in his right frame of mind would want to punish somebody for what he did not do. He has wronged me in any way. I have never met him before. I can’t just wake up and say I don’t not like this man. All of these things have been a lot for me. I was supposed to be in Abuja now by my father had to cancel all his appointments to enable me honour the invitation to appear before this committee. My family is under a lot of pressure.”
The committee said it consoled the student not to cry and commended her courage. It also asked her about the N5 million or N1 million demand.
She said proceedings and charges were all done by the lawyer and only the lawyer could answer the question.
Asked what she wanted from the Mr Olowookere, she responded:
“In as much as people committed offence or crime, rape cases are very rampant in Nigeria and people don’t want to hear about it because it is stigma. If at all I should be an example to the coming generation, there have to be processes and procedures. Dr. S.K. Olowookere to the legal people is a criminal. Right now, a criminal is let loose walking around the street. Who knows whether he has been doing this before or this is the first time. The law should be allowed to take its just course. He should be jailed if tried and found guilty.”
On his part, Mr Olowookere said, “That’s a lie. I have never done such.”
Asked whether it was consensual sex, he insisted without clarifying that “I have never done such, never. And I will never do it.”
Told that his senior colleagues involved in the case said he admitted he raped the student, he said “That is a misguided information. It is not true.”
He said the newspaper can carry out its investigation since the lady has gone to court.
While Mr Olowookere told the panel he did no wrong, his senior colleagues said he had earlier admitted assaulting the student. To some, he said the sex was consensual, and to another he blamed the devil.
The dean of the faculty, Medinat Salman, a professor, said when the matter first came to her, she invited senior professors and Mr Olowookere to meet with the student and her family. There, the lecturer said the intercourse was consensual, but the student insisted it was forceful.
She said at that instance, the lecturer confessed before all present that the allegation was true. She said they tried to pacify the family and pleaded that the school would handle the matter administratively.
At a second meeting, Mr Olowookere came with his wife and prostrated while his wife knelt as they apologised to the student’s family. She said the matter was reported to the deputy vice-chancellor and the registrar.
Professor D. O. Durosaro, who headed a faculty panel to probe the matter, also said the lecturer confessed but later denied.
The dean of student’s affairs, L.T. Ajibade, a professor, said the lecturer admitted during a meeting with him that he raped the girl but said it was the work of the devil. It was Mr Ajibade who first confronted Mr Olowookere with a list of his four alleged offences.
First, he showed the student her test score; second, he altered the score; third, he raped the girl and fourth the sexual assault took place in his office.
Mr Ajibade said when the gravity of the offenses dawned on Mr. Olowookere, he broke down and wept. He said there was solid evidence of the confession as the interaction with the lecturer was recorded.
Accused Lecturer Insists He Never confessed To Raping The Victim
Confronted with the counter testimonies, Mr Olowookere stood his ground.
But asked this time whether he changed the girl’s test score, he said, “I wouldn’t know.”
Told that the dean of his faculty said he had confessed to the offence, he said he only cried and that he cried because the allegation was “false”.
At the final meeting, the committee finally invited the student into the venue of the meeting to meet Mr Olowookere face to face.
She insisted the man raped her and reaffirmed her claim that he adjusted her score from 24 to 30. Asked to respond to the allegations, Mr Olowookere said he could not remember.
The committee in its report said Mr Olowookere “lied and was not truthful” in his submission before the Staff Disciplinary and Appeals Committee.
“Based on the totality of evidence before the committee, Dr. Solomon Kehinde Olowookere was found culpable of: wrongly, deliberately and forcefully sexually assaulting” the student in his office on February 27. The committee recommended his dismissal.
It cautioned the level adviser, Mr. Badru, that the controversy might have been averted if he had attended to students as expected, and signed their course forms without duress.
It advised the head of the department, Mrs. Adeniyi-Egbeola, to be on the lookout whenever students flock around a particular lecturer.