ASK AKIN BARUWA, UNILAG ex-lecturer, how he got involved in raping 18-years old female admission seeker. He would attribute his actions to the devil. Preventable and prohibitive actions with attendant consequences, have continue to be attractive to some. When caught, they will be the saint, and their actions, the devil.
Thursday, Baruwa was sentenced to 21 years imprisonment by Justice Josephine Oyefeso, of Lagos High Court, Ikeja, for his actions. The judge described the convict’s actions that led to the rape as “heinous”. And his incarceration would serve as deterrent to others.
“I cannot begin to imagine the physical and mental trauma she has had to endure from the man who she considered her father’s friend, a community leader, who should have known better. This is a shame!
“This is a crime that not only offends the survivor but also it offends her family, the larger society and God. More painful is that the convict gave the family the impression that he was a lecturer at UNILAG, but the university only required his services on an ad-hoc basis,’’ Justices Oyefeso, stated.
Baruwa, the Judge held, capitalised on the young girl’s vulnerability to achieve his selfish aim, and violated her chastity. And left deep emotional scar from which she may find it difficult to recover. Baruwa gave the impression he could assist the young lady to secure admission when he could do nothing.
Baruwa’s lawyer, H.I. Omotoba, pleaded on his behalf for lighter sentence. He asked the Judge to temper justice with mercy. “The convict is broken and highly remorseful of his act. He is a first-time offender with no previous criminal records”. And added that he is “a married man with children”, has “aged parents” to cater for. And urge the court to impose lesser punishment on him.
Yhaqub Oshoala, Director, Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution, DPP, countered the pleas of the defence counsel. He, rather, asked the court to impose stiff sentence, to serve as deterrent to lecturers who, sexually, prey on students.
Justice Oyefeso took none of the pleas from the defence counsel. “Neither the state nor the society will condone or accept such bad conduct. There are many students who are weak and have nobody to protect them. This is an opportunity to put an end to the attitude of men like the defendant”.
Sexual harassment in tertiary institutions, gradually, is becoming a scourge in Nigeria. United Nations is mobilising interest groups in Nigeria to fight the menace. As well as end violence against women and girls, which is a key priority for the UN.
Comfort Lamptey, UN Women Country Representative in Nigeria and ECOWAS, Thursday, in Abuja, called on journalists, media experts and civil society organisations to support the passage of the Bill for Prohibition of Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Institutions. It was at the occasion of People Journalism Prize For Africa 2019. Lamptey was represented by Mercedes Alfa, UN Communication Analyst.