A professor at the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, is being investigated for moral misconduct after he impregnated a 16-year-old fresher.
Prof. Adewole Atere of the department of Criminology has since resigned as panel set up by the university are set to unravel the truth behind escapeds with teenager Precious Azuka.
According to Premium Times, the victim, Azuka, was in her first semester at the university when she met the don in March 2017. She was 16 years old then. The brief meeting was followed by a message of love from the professor through one of his subordinates in the department, Chinedu Abrifor, a PhD holder.
According to both audio and documentary records of evidence, Abrifor simply told Azuka then that she was ‘mature enough’ for the professor.
“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,” Azuka told the fact finding committee.
The development led to disagreement between Azuka and her boyfriend, Kayode Fasanya.
Fasanya, who started dating Azuka, his classmate, in January 2017, quickly broke the relationship as soon as he was aware of the professor’s love affair with his girlfriend.
Less than two months into their amorous relationship, Azuka noticed she was not well. Medical test confirmed she was pregnant.
“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.
But by July, Azuka’s physical appearance had indicated she was pregnant. Her story was also on many lips within and outside the hostel.
She said one of her friends, who was staying off-campus, identified simply as Priscilla, took her to an unnamed laboratory official at Oye Ekiti general hospital, a government-owned health facility.
“The laboratory official introduced me to Dr. Dada who eventually helped me out on Wednesday, July 26,” Azuka said.
Because the pregnancy was already about 21 weeks, the doctor said dilation and curettage (D&C) could no longer be conducted, and thus offered to induce Azuka to labour. “I was asked to return to the hospital as soon as the foetus was expelled.”
On the morning of July 27, 2017, Azuka went into labour and expelled the foetus.
A universiy source said, “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.”
Azuka was rushed to the university’s clinic where she was placed on admission. She was discharged the following day, July 28, 2017.
Following a petition addressed to the university by an Ado-Ekiti-based legal practitioner, Olaolu Ayodele, the acting dean of students’ affairs on August 10, 2017, caused the university’s hostel management committee to set up a fact-finding sub-committee to look into the matter.
The committee had the school’s health centre director, Olawale M.O, as chairman and an administrative officer, Oye campus hostel, Ajewole F, as secretary. Other members were the female hall warden, Bakare L. and the head of maintenance unit, Mr. Adebayo, an engineer.
The sub-committee’s report, which was submitted to the vice-chancellor’s office on August 14, 2017, was accompanied by a memo from the acting dean of students’ affairs, E. O Adeyemi.
The report reads in part; “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.”
The report stated that the lecturer immediately apologised 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.”
According to Azuka, Mr Abrifor called Mr Fasanya again at about 8 a.m. the following day that he should come with Azuka to their house at Aiyegbaju but Azuka was indisposed and so could not go.
The report added; “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.”
Meanwhile, Azuka said on the evening of August 10, Mr Abrifor sent her N20,000 through Adeleke Abiodun, another student of the department. She said the doctor charged N13,000 for the abortion but she deposited N11,500 and was to pay N1,500 if she had returned for medications as scheduled.
In the report, the committee said Fasanya also gave the same statement when he appeared before it.
The acting DSA in his memo advised the management to set up another panel that would be empowered to invite Messrs Atere, Omotola and Abrifor for questioning on the matter.
He also recommended that “appropriate disciplinary action should be taken against anyone found guilty to forestall future occurrence and redeem the confidence of both the students and the general public on the university.”
Rather than waiting for the outcome of the probe, Atere suddenly resigned his appointment.
The manner with which he resigned has again raised fresh dusts on the campus, with some of his colleagues accusing him of abscondment and others saying he was protected by the vice-chancellor.
Meanwhile, the embattled professor is now a lecturer at the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.
The vice-chancellor of FUOYE, Kayode Soremekun, said since Atere had left the service of his institution, he could no longer bring any charge against him.
He said the existing law of the university at the time Atere left permitted resignation without notice.
“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.”
The VC also claimed he stopped further action when the victim’s parents said they were not interested in prosecution.
“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,” Soremekun said.
The vice-chancellor also denied receiving any report of any subcommittee from the office of the then acting dean of students’ affairs.
“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.
Azuka who is now in 300 level, reiterated that Mr Atere was responsible for her pregnancy.
She, however, declined further comments, saying all she wanted at this time was to graduate.
She said she has since reconciled with Mr Fasanya and that they are back as lovers.
“I don’t want to talk about this matter again. I think I have survived it and I have moved on.”
Mr Fasanya could not be reached for comments as his telephone line was not available as at the time of filing this report.
The accused lecturer has said the allegation is not true but refused to explain his own side of the matter. When called by our reporter, Mr Atere simply denied his involvement, saying; “That is not true. It is not true.”
But rather than taking time to explain further, he simply hung up the phone, and has since refused to pick our reporter’s call.