Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, has suspended the state’s Commissioner for Environment, Abiodun Abudu-Balogun, over alleged sexual harassment of a 16-year-old girl in the state.
The Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, who announced the development in a statement on Sunday, said the commissioner would remain suspended until the conclusion of investigation into the allegation.
The SSG said the suspension was to enable Abudu-Balogun to cooperate fully with the police on its investigation into the allegation.
He asked the commissioner to hand over to the permanent secretary in the ministry.
The statement read: “Whilst taking cognizance of the principle of a suspect being presumed innocent until proven guilty and the public statement issued by the commissioner, 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 Prince Dapo Abiodun administration’s commitment to fairness, equity, justice, and the rule of law, no matter who is involved.
“The government assures the public that it will do everything to ensure that justice is served in this case.”
The Ogun State police command said on Saturday it commenced an investigation into the alleged sexual harassment of the girl, Barakat Melojuekun, by the commissioner.
The spokesman of the state police command, Abimbola Oyeyemi, who disclosed this to journalists in Abeokuta, said the case was being investigated by the area commander of Ogbere and its outcome would be made public in due course.
Abudu-Balogun, however, denied the allegation in a statement on same day.
He said: “My attention has been drawn to a purported video circulating on social media of a girl alleging that I attempted to sexually harass her
“Let it be noted that in my entire life and political career, I have assisted many youths to secure jobs, some are working with me in my different businesses.
“On this said day, the girl was brought to my house by one of my loyalists who is her uncle, to assist her to get a job as a Computer Operator at the ICT Centre I facilitated while I was serving as a member of the House of Representatives years back which has been moribund
“But I am about to rehabilitate the centre in order to empower more youths in our local government.
“I met her at my sitting room for a few minutes where many of my loyalists are, people that came to visit me for the New Year. I chatted with the lady for few minutes and as part of my usual gesture, I gave her some amount of money for her transportation.
“A day after, I was informed by some people that I have been alleged to have attempted to sexually harass the girl and I should invite the family for a meeting so as to settle the matter amicably.
“It was after my refusal to yield to their threats that they went ahead to make a teleguided video leading the lady on what to say to implicate me. This is purely a political blackmail by my adversaries.”