I no longer feel safe at NIJ, says assaulted student

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A student of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Ogba, Lagos, Anjola Ogunyemi, has said she is not returning to the school after being allegedly sexually assaulted by one of her lecturers, Tene John, as she no longer feels safe.

Ogunyemi said she feared that she would be victimised by other lecturers of the school for allegedly causing John to lose his job.

According to Punchng report, Ogunyemi was allegedly assaulted by John on December 13, 2019, in his office.

It was gathered that the victim petitioned the school management to demand an investigation into the incident.

Our correspondent learnt that upon the receipt of the petition, the management of the NIJ set up a panel to probe the allegation.

The school, in a statement by its Registrar, Dotun Adeniji, on Monday, announced John’s dismissal after the conclusion of the investigation.

The statement read in part, “Our attention has been drawn to a post on the social media by one of our students, Ms Anjola Ogunyemi, a National Diploma 1 student, alleging sexual harassment by one of our part-time lecturers, Mr Tene John.

“Ms Ogunyemi’s petition to the school on the alleged sexual harassment was received on December 19, 2019, the day of our vacation. And the Provost called her on that same day to acknowledge receipt of her petition and assured her that the matter would be looked into appropriately.

“The institution, thereafter, set up a panel of three lecturers – two females and a male. The panel sat and took evidence from the two parties and the witnesses concerned. On Friday, January 17, 2020, the last day of its sitting, the accused and the accuser were made to confront each other at the panel.

“It was difficult for the panel to establish concretely a case of sexual harassment in its report, because there were glaring contradictions in the testimonies of the two parties and witnesses. We wish to place on record that Ms Ogunyemi walked out on the panel and ran to the social media to tell her story on the day of the panel’s final sitting.

“In view of our institution’s zero tolerance for improper conduct on the part of the staff and students, and in the light of the interest the matter has generated, the following decisions have been taken: the lecturer concerned, Mr Tene, who has been on our faculty for over a decade, has been relieved of his appointment; we thank him for his services and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours.

Ms Ogunyemi, who has just returned from a one-year suspension over indecent dressing and gross misconduct, is advised to adhere strictly to her matriculation oath of channelling her grievances to the authorities of the institution.

“We wish to reiterate that our staff and students are governed by rules and regulations and it is important that we comply accordingly.”

The 22-year-old victim, who spoke with our correspondent on Tuesday, stated that going back to the school would be like walking into a trap.

She said, “I was sent a message that the lecturer had been sacked and I think the school took the right decision, because I feel he has got what he deserves, but at this point, I am not going back to the NIJ. I am done with the school, because I was suspended for one year and coming back, I had to face a sexual assault, which investigation dragged too long before a decision was made.

“I feel that there is nothing left for me in the school; other lecturers, who are John’s friends, are obviously upset that I caused the loss of his job; so, if I go back to the school, it will be difficult for me to pass through the system.

“As far as I am concerned, I am no longer a student of the NIJ. I will wait and write the UTME again and get into a university where I can feel comfortable, safe and not feel that anyone is watching me.”

Ogunyemi urged other students of the school, who had experienced sexual assault from lecturers, to speak up for the sake of their mental health, adding that she almost lost her mind when the incident happened.

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