Alleged Sexual Harassment: Barakat’s uncle breaks silence, I took her to Commissioner’s house

Alleged Sexual Harassment: Barakat’s uncle breaks silence, I took her to Commissioner's house

Barakat Melojuekun

By James Ogunnaike

THE allegation of sexual harassment against the suspended Commissioner for Environment in Ogun State, Mr. Abiodun Abudu-Balogun may have got a new twist.
Mr. Lasisi Saheed, who was accused by Barakat Melojuekun of taking her to the embattled Commissioner for Environment, in Ogun State, Mr. Abiodun Abudu-Balogun, said yesterday that he was the one who took the 16-year-old girl to the Commissioner’s house.
Saheed, who is Barakat’s uncle, confirmed that the girl was asked to sit in the car when they first got to the Commissioner’s house and was later picked up by one Mariam Eniola Oyenuga.
He confirmed that the girl was taken into a room by Abudu-Balogun after he presented her to him.
Barakat, while accusing the suspended Commissioner of sexual harassment, revealed that it was Lasisi Saheed who came to her father to inform him that a computer operator was needed at an ICT centre owned by the Commissioner.
In the video, the man, who described himself as the elder brother to the accuser’s father said: “My name is Lasisi Saheed. I am an elder brother of Barakat’s father. I live at Ita-Otu. I was at Honourable’s (Abudu-Balogun’s) house where we had a meeting on December 31st and they said he needs someone who can operate a computer very well. I said I have a girl who is very good at it. They said I should let them see the girl and I left.”
The uncle, who explained in Yoruba language, said: “I went to meet Barakat at home and I asked if she is good at operating a computer, she said yes. So I said let’s go to Commissioner’s house. I told her he needed a computer operator at an ICT centre, that they will be paying her money. I told her to come and be working there. She said she liked it.
“That time, I told her to go and change her clothes and she went in to do so. I drove her to the Commissioner’s house.
“Before I went to pick Barakat, we were having a meeting. Not to disturb us at the meeting, I told her to wait inside the car. Later, I called Mariam to help me call her so that she would see Honourable (Abudu-Balogun).
“I took her to the Commissioner and introduced her as the girl to be the computer operator. The Commissioner stood up and went to her. They went inside together, maybe into the sitting room. I just saw that they both went in.
“It was not more than five or 10 minutes, they came out. That’s all I know about the matter.”
Abiodun Abudu-Balogun: Embattled Commissioner for Environment
Already, the victim of the sexual scandal, Barakat Melojuekun and her father, Mr. Melojuekun Monsur withdrew the case against the suspended Commissioner.
Both Barakat and her father attributed their actions to misconceptions and misunderstandings between her (Barakat) and the embattled Commissioner.

There’s more to it—Concerned residents

But some concerned residents of the state, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, urged the Police not to sweep the matter under the carpet.
They said: “We are beginning to suspect foul play in this matter. Something must have gone wrong somewhere for the victim and her father to have come out to tell us another thing that they are withdrawing the case against the Commissioner at the police state. It is either the Commissioner or his loyalists have threatened the family of the victim or money must have change hands between the parties”.
“The matter must be properly investigated to serve as a deterrent to others in positions of authority and believe that they can use their positions to harass the less privileged or take advantage of their conditions.”

Why we suspended Commissioner—Ogun govt

The development came on a day the state government, in a statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Talabi Tokunbo announced the suspension of the Commissioner over the scandal.
The state government had said that the suspension of the Commissioner was to enable him to cooperate with the independent investigation being carried out by the Police.
The government had explained that “whilst taking cognizance of the principle of a suspect being presumed innocent until proven guilty and the public statement issued by Mr. 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 the Dapo Abiodun administration to fairness, equity, justice and the rule of law, no matter who is involved.”

Why we withdrew case—Barakat, father

Melojuekun, while appreciating the media and the international community for the show of interest in his daughter’s case, he appealed for similar support in his decision to withdraw the police case against the embattled Commissioner.
He said: “I am the biological father of Melojuekun Barakat, who has recently been in the news about sexual harassment between her and the Commissioner for Environment in Ogun State, in the person of Mr. Abiodun Abudu-Balogun.
“I want to thank the media for their doggedness and aggressive support to make sure justice prevails. I am using this opportunity to also thank the international community, well-meaning Nigerians, and all Ogun State indigenes that showed their
love and encouragement on this matter.
“Sincerely, I discovered that there were few misconceptions and misunderstandings along the line between my daughter and the Commissioner.”
On her part, Barakat equally appealed to Nigerians to allow the matter rest, thanking them for their love for her and interest in the case.
She said: “You can recall that I was the young lady in the viral video about sexual harassment by Commissioner for Environment in Ogun State.
“I am using this opportunity to thank all meaningful Nigerians that show their
supports and love towards this matter.
“And I want you to know that there were view misconceptions and misunderstandings between me and the Commissioner. I now want to use this opportunity to appeal to meaningful Nigerians to please allow this matter to rest.”
Speaking on the plan to withdraw the case against the embattled Commissioner and the appeal by both Barakat and her father, the State Police Command said it is going ahead with its investigation.

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