Abdul-Balogun: Commissioner ‘secretly resigns’ after ‘molesting’ SS3 student

Ogun State Commissioner for Environment, Abiodun Abdul-Balogun, Barakat Melojuekun, has resigned from office.

The former commissioner was accused of sexual assault in January when he allegedly fondled the breasts of a 16-year-old girl.

State Attorney-General, Akingbolahan Adeniran, confirmed the commissioner’s resignation to Premium Times, although the alleged molestation case had been put on hold since the embattled commissioner secretly resigned.

Adeniran said, “He has resigned his appointment. He is no longer a state government official. The police have indeed sent the case file, including an affidavit from the victim that she is not willing to testify.

“We cannot prove the offence without the victim’s testimony and it is our policy in sexual violence cases not to compel victim testimony. We have not publicised this in order not to expose her to danger from fanatics and others.”

The family of the 16-year-old girl under pressure had announced that they would be withdrawing their case from the police and Nigerians should “allow the matter to rest.”

Barakat and her father, Adesola Melojuekun, had appealed in different short videos on Facebook, noting that they would not be pursuing the matter again with the police.

The teenager had two days earlier accused the commissioner of sexual harassment at Ita Otu, Ogun Waterside local government area of the state.

Barakat had recounted that the sexual harassment occurred on Thursday, December 31, in the commissioner’s apartment. He allegedly fondled her breasts and recounted incantations while she screamed and struggled to free herself from his grip.

In her confession to the police at the Abigi division, the victim had narrated that the commissioner’s aides lured her to his house and his bedroom, after which the commissioner came in and bolted the door.

The commissioner had refuted the allegations, saying they were “lies, blackmail and the handwork of his local political opponents.”

However, the Ogun State Government had suspended the commissioner pending investigations into the matter, saying Abdul-Balogun should hand over to the Permanent Secretary in the ministry.

In videos on Monday, Barakat came out in a video, appreciating Nigerians for their support and concern, but pleading that the matter be laid to rest.

She said, “You can recall that I was the young lady in the viral video about sexual harassment by the Commissioner for the Environment in Ogun State. I am using this opportunity to thank all meaningfully Nigerians that showed their support and love towards this matter.

“And I want you to know that there are a few 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. Thanks.”

In the first video, however, Barakat, a Senior Secondary School 3 student, had narrated how the commissioner allegedly caressed her body while offering her money, which she resisted and screamed before she was eventually allowed to go.

Mayowa said, “On December 31, one Mr Lasisi came to my grandparents in the area, and said he knew someone who needed a computer operator and asked if I knew how to operate a computer. I said yes. He said I should dress up and we would go together to the place.

“When we got there, it was the honourable’s house. A lady, Maryam Odunnuga, came to pick me and brought me into a living room. Mr Austin came out and asked me to come over to a room. The honourable came inside. Mr Austin went outside immediately.

“Immediately, the honourable locked the door and put the key inside his pocket. So, he moved close to me and asked for the name of my school. He asked how much is my school fees, I replied, N30,000. He asked me who was paying my school fees, I told him, my daddy. He asked if I wanted to start a business before going to school?

“I said I wanted to go to a higher institution. He said if I would need some money now, how much would I need? I said any amount. He said I should state an amount. He moved closer and pressed (fondled) my breasts. So, I pushed his hand away. He said, won’t you cooperate? He now started pressing my breasts and my body.

“I was struggling to free myself from him. So, he started reciting some incantations. He wanted to touch my head. I moved his hand away so that he would not touch my head. He wanted to force me inside his bathroom.

“But I struggled with him and started shouting. He did not want people around his house to know what was going on. He left me and gave me four hundred naira notes, N2000 as my transport; I rejected the money.

“He said if I didn’t collect the money, he would not let me go. So I collected it, and he asked Austin to drop me back in our house. I want Nigerians to help me to take up this matter and charge against him. This has never happened to me in my life. Right now, I am so shocked. I have never been harassed like that in my life.”

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