Commissioner for Environment in Ogun State Honourable Abiodun Abudu-Balogun has been suspended from the State’s Executive Council pending the conclusion of an independent investigation into alleged sexual harassment of a 16-year old Barakat Mayowa Melojuekun.
The Ogun State Government disclosed the suspension of the embattled commissioner in a statement issued in Abeokuta on Sunday and signed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Tokunbo Talabi.
The state’s SSG said the disciplinary action is to enable the accused commissioner cooperate fully with the 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 continued.
“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, the statement concluded”, Talabi stated.
Meanwhile, Suspended Commissioner Abudu-Balogun, in statement made available to Echotitbits, on Saturday denied the allegation of sexual harassments leveled against him by 16-year old Barakat Mayowa Melojuekun.
“My attention has been drawn to a purported video circulating on social media of a girl alleging that I attempted to sexually harrass her. Let it be noted that in my entire life and political career, I have assisted many youth to secure jobs, some are working with me in my different businesses.
“On this said day, the girl was brought to my house by one of my loyalists who is her Uncle, to assist her get a job as a Computer Operator at the ICT Centre I facilitated while I was serving as a member of House of Representatives years back which has been moribund but I am about to rehabilitate in order to empower more youths in our local government.
“I met her at my sitting room for few minutes where many of my loyalists are, people that came to visit me for the New Year. I chatted with the lady for few minutes and as part of my usual gesture, I gave her some amount of money for her transportation. A day after, I was informed by some people that I have been alleged to have attempted to sexually harrass the girl and I should invite the family for a meeting so as to settle the matter amicably. It was after my refusal to yield to their threats that they went ahead to make a teleguided video leading the lady on what to say to implicate me. This is purely a political blackmail by my adversaries.
Balogun, who pleaded with his political supporters to remain calm and not engage on the said matter confirmed that the case is already being handled by the Police and his legal team. The embattled commissioner reiterated his innocence saying, “Let me state emphatically that I never attempted to sexually harrass anyone.