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Ogun suspends commissioner over sexual harassment allegation

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Ogun suspends commissioner over sexual harassment allegation
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Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun has suspended the Commissioner for Environment, Abiodun Abudu-Balogun for alleged sexual harassment of a 16-year old girl.

A 16-year-old girl, Barakat Melojuekun, in a Facebook video post that has now gone viral alleged that the commissioner connived with her uncle and a teacher from another secondary school to lure her to his house, where he sexually harassed her by touching her breasts.

The commissioner, however, denied the allegations in a statement he issued, describing the video as “teleguided” and “political blackmail by my adversaries.”

But a statement issued by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, on Sunday said the suspension of Abudu-Balogun was to allow for thorough investigation of the matter.

Investigation into the sensational case was first launched by the Area Commander for Ogbere Police Area Command less than 24 hours after a sexual harassment video went viral at the weekend but the case has been transferred to the SCIID on the instruction of the Commissioner of Police, Edward Ajogun, for thorough handling.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), told The Nation that SCIID will take over the investigation of matter tomorrow (Monday) from Ogbere Police Area Command for a thorough investigation, stressing that the outcome would be made known to public at the appropriate time when it is concluded.

The Environment Commissioner had why denying the allegation, said that the girl was teleguided to make the sexual harassment video and stated emphatically that he never attempted to sexually harass the girl or anyone.

However,  in a statement issued in Abeokuta on Sunday, the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, said the suspension of the Commissioner is to enable him to cooperate fully with the independent investigation being carried out by the Police.

“Whilst taking cognizance of the principle of a suspect being presumed innocent until proven guilty and the public statement issued by Hon. Abudu-Balogun denying the allegation, as a government with zero tolerance for gender-based violence and indeed any criminality, the suspension is a further demonstration of the commitment of Prince Dapo Abiodun Administration to fairness, equity, justice and the rule of law, no matter who is involved,” the statement said.

The government assures the public that it will do everything to ensure that justice is served in this case. In the meantime, the suspended Commissioner has been directed to hand over to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment

According to the statement, while taking cognizance of the principle of a suspect being presumed innocent until proven guilty and the public statement issued by Hon. Abudu-Balogun denying the allegation, as a government with zero tolerance for gender-based violence and indeed any criminality, the suspension of the commissioner is a further demonstration of the commitment of Abiodun administration to fairness, equity, justice and the rule of law, no matter who is involved.

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