A Federal High Court sitting in Osogbo, Osun State, yesterday sentenced former senior lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife Prof. Richard Akindele to six years’ imprisonment for demanding sex to pass his student, Miss Monica Osagie.
The presiding judge, Justice Maurine Onyetenu, gave the judgment after the former don had changed his plea from “not guilty” to “guilty”.
Akindele, on a four-count charge, was sentenced to 24 months on count one, 24 months on count two, one year on count three and another one year on count four.
The judge, who ruled that the jail term should run concurrently, ordered that Samsung S4 phone of the victim should be returned to her and Samsung S8 phone of the defendant should be forfeited to the Federal Government.
After the judgment, defence counsel Francis Omotoso pleaded with the court to suspend the sentence.
He negotiated for a plea bargain, but Justice Onyetenu declined, saying: “The rampant cases of students’ harassment by lecturers should be stopped.”
The judge, who affirmed that plea bargain was not absolute, said it was at the discretion of the court.
Read also: The Ife sex-for-marks investigation
She said: “This kind of issue is too rampant in our tertiary institutions. We send children to school; they come home telling us that lecturers want to sleep with them. We cannot continue like this. Somebody has to be used as a scapegoat. Even primary school pupils are complaining.
“Telling me to suspend sentence does not arise. Plea bargain does not arise. May be the case continues to occur and reoccur because someone has not been used as a scapegoat. It is time for the court to start upholding the right of the children, especially female students. The case is endemic.”
The defence counsel told the court that Akindele had lost his job and learnt his lesson, adding that the university had discovered an error in the victim’s examination paper’s marking and had concluded plans to compensate her.
The counsel further told the court that the OAU management was planning to make offices of lecturers open by building the front side with glasses, to discourage immorality.
But the judge turned down the prayer of the counsel, saying: “Do you think they do it in the office? They go to hotels.”
Counsel to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Mr. Shogunle Adenekan, had urged the court to confiscate the phone of the defendant and make him forfeit it to the Federal Government.
He said sensitive materials were discovered in the phone during forensic investigation, but advised that the phone of the victim be released to her.