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Segun Awonusi: Alleged sexual harassment victim’s absence stalls UNILAG investigation

The alleged case of sexual harassment, involving a UNILAG lecturer in the Department of English and Literary Studies, Prof. Segun Awonusi, and a female student, Joy Nwanna may have run into a hitch in its investigation.

The fact-finding panel set up by the management of the University of Lagos to look into scandal says the alleged victim, identified as Miss Joy Nwanna, had failed to substantiate her claim.

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You recall that in May 2018, semi-nude photographs of Segun Awonusi released by Joy Nwanna went viral after she accused him and others in the university’s English department of sexual harassment.

A statement released on Monday by the panel, comprising five senior professors, reads in part:

“The panel conducted its investigations and recently submitted its report. Preliminary findings indicate that the allegation of sexual harassment was not substantiated by the alleged victim or any other person.

The panel’s statement also noted that preliminary investigation in the case had raised certain questions and issues that needed to be investigated further.

It added that investigation was still ongoing and the university authorities were making efforts to confirm the authenticity of the semi-nude photographs of Segun Awonusi that were published in Linda Ikeji’s blog in May, 2018.

“Student records of Miss Joy Nwanna reveal that she was admitted into the Department of English as a direct entry student in the 2012/2013 session. She graduated from the university in the 2015/2016 academic session.

“All attempts made by the panel to contact Miss Nwanna via the telephone numbers in her records and bye-mail proved abortive. The panel also attempted to contact Linda Ikeji to convince the alleged victim to come forward, but Ikeji was not forthcoming in that regard. The university requires the alleged victim to substantiate the allegations.”

The university authorities appealed to Linda Ikeji to persuade her to appear before the panel and state her own side of the story, while giving the assurance that both parties would be duly protected.

The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, had earlier warned that conclusive investigation into the case might not be possible if the alleged victim failed to show up.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, Ogundipe insisted that the supposed victim must appear to help the fact-finding panel to carry out proper, balanced and fair investigation. He had said:

“If the lady does not come out, how will the investigation be concluded? You must not hear from one side alone; you must hear from the two sides and balance the information you have before taking decision and making recommendations.”

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