Metilelu: Lest a ‘sexual predator’ mounts the saddle of LASPOTECH


By Abdullah Abdulganiy

In recent times, cases of sexual violence against the girl-child and women have pervaded the media space across Nigeria. These include: Rape, sexual harassments, sexual intimidation, sex-for-grades and so on. There is virtually no day one flips through the pages of newspapers without reading sexual violence stories.

Virtually every nook and cranny of Nigeria has had a taste of these horrifying trends – academia, religious centers, hospitals, newsrooms, and even the streets. The female folks have thus been reduced to being mere canon fodders in the hands of sexual predators, as the hopes and dreams of young girls continue to be shattered and battered.

Worried by the alarming trend of sexual violence against women, many observers have regarded it an epidemic in the Nigerian society. Stakeholders have also frowned at it vehemently, just as varying groups are demanding quick and worthwhile actions from governments across levels.

Perhaps, more harrowingly disturbing is the revelation by the Minister for Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen that Nigeria has recorded a total of 3,600 cases of rape in a couple of months. The Nigeria Governors Forum has since declared a State of Emergency on sexual and gender-based violence. In the same token, the Senate has passed the Sexual Harassment Bill aimed at arresting the scourge of sexual violence.

However, all these may amount to crocodile tears and futile efforts if we refuse to hold the bull by the horn. To me, they are like attending to headache in the face of the ravaging coronavirus. Going by Nigerian tradition, all these could just be mere paperworks to douse the media tension. Nothing serious!

If we must be serious, there is need to start trailing those who have allegations of sexual violence hanging on their necks and swiftly bring them to justice. By this, a culture of deterence would have been created. Consequently, prospective sexual predators would begin to nurse fears in their minds and the signals that sure consequences exist for bad behavior would have been firmly established.

Such is the case of the Acting Rector of Lagos State Polytechnic, Mr Olumide Metilelu who has a litany of allegations of sexual misconducts hanging on his neck, but continues to move freely without being queried or investigated by necessary authorities. Credible sources have it that Metilelu is even gunning to be the substantive Rector of the highly reputable institution. What an effrontery! What an audacity!

While the appeal of many groups who have prevailed on the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu to avert a disaster by investigating many of the allegations of sexual harassments against Metilelu are still hanging, let me quote from the statement of the United Action for Democracy, published in the Sahara Reporters of June, 30, 2020.

In a letter dated 29th of June, 2020, the General Secretary, Kunle Wizeman Ajayi, on behalf of the group, demanded a thorough investigation into Metilelu’s previous rape allegations.

The statement reads in part: “Following series of allegations of sexual misconduct against Mr Olumide Metilelu some of which we believe must have come to your notice before now; we call on your good office not to treat with levity or ignore what may be yet another intent by Metilelu to willfully violate another victim who would end up being dejected and stigmatised for the rest of her life.

“The case in point which compelled us to write you this letter pre-emptively and to demand a reopening of investigation into Metilelu’s previous rape allegations had to do with Metilelu’s issuance of a query letter to a woman-subordinate (a computer operator- Mrs Taiwo Dahunsi) why she ‘dared’ to leave the office by 7:00pm in the evening without completing her work even when the work in question was not an urgent one!

“Why would Metilelu demand of a married woman to remain in office with him till 7:00pm and beyond. We wonder why the safety precaution taken by the woman to leave office at the time (7:00pm), especially in this atmosphere of human insecurity should become a subject of query by Mr Metilelu whose sense of responsibility by virtue of his position as the Chief Security Officer of the entire institution demands that his thinking on human safety and security be far ahead of those of his subordinates!”

The governor must therefore swiftly rise to the occasion and ensure a thorough investigation into these allegations. The image of LASPOTECH and by extension, Lagos State is at stake if Metilelu, perchance, gets his way to become the substantive Rector while he’s yet to clear his name.

People like Metilelu who’s enmeshed in series of sexual abuse allegations should not be given the rein of power as such would certainly be abused to satisfy personal desires.

It’s on this basis that I appeal to the Governor as one who has demonstrated to be a girl-child rights advocate over the years to investigate the scores of allegations levelled against Mr Metilelu in order to save LASPOTECH any embarrassment in the future. The ongoing case of Mr Ibrahim Magu at the federal level is the beginning of wisdom. Metilelu should clear his name!

Abdullah is a sociologist and girl-child rights advocate. Email: [email protected].


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