Ogun State Government has suspended the Commissioner for Environment, Hon. Abiodun Abudu-Balogun, from office pending the conclusion of an independent investigation into an allegation of sexual harassment of a 16-year old Barakat Mayowa Melojuekun.
Also, the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (SCIID) has taken over the investigation of the sexual harassment claim against the Commissioner.
Investigation into the sensational case was first launched by the Area Commander for Ogbere Police Area Command less than 24 hours after a sexual harassment video went viral at the weekend but the case has been transferred to the SCIID on the instruction of the Commissioner of Police, Edward Ajogun, for thorough handling.
A teenage girl who identified herself as Melojuekun Barakat Mayowa had in a viral video alleged that Hon. Abiodun Abudu-Balogun sexually harassed her when she visited him while looking for employment.
In the viral video, the girl further claimed that the former Reps member fondled with her breasts but Abudu – Balogun has refuted the allegations, saying it is a “pure political blackmail” concocted by his political “adversaries.”
The Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), told The Nation that SCIID will take over the investigation of matter tomorrow (Monday) from Ogbere Police Area Command for a thorough investigation, stressing that the outcome would be made known to public at the appropriate time when it is concluded.
The Environment Commissioner had why denying the allegation, said that the girl was teleguided to make the sexual harassment video and stated emphatically that he never attempted to sexually harass the girl or anyone.
However, in a statement issued in Abeokuta on Sunday, the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, said the suspension of the Commissioner is to enable him cooperate fully with the independent investigation being carried out by the Police.
“Whilst taking cognizance of the principle of a suspect being presumed innocent until proven guilty and the public statement issued by Hon. Abudu-Balogun denying the allegation, as a government with zero tolerance for gender-based violence and indeed any criminality, the suspension is a further demonstration of the commitment of Prince Dapo Abiodun Administration to fairness, equity, justice and the rule of law, no matter who is involved,” the statement said.
The government assures the public that it will do everything to ensure that justice is served in this case. In the meantime, the suspended Commissioner has been directed to hand over to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment.