Feminist Womanifesto, a group of more than 500 women associations and individuals clamouring for gender justice, has called on the Ogun State Government to investigate the alleged sexual harassment of a 16-year-old schoolgirl, Miss Barakat Molojuekun, against the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Abiodun Abudu-Balogun.
The group in a statement by the Executive Director, Women Advocate Research and Documentation Centre, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, on Friday, demanded further actions from the government to ascertain the extent of alleged sexual harassment, noting that if Abudu-Balogun is found guilty, he should be brought to justice.
Ogun State is one of the states that have subscribed to zero tolerance for violence against women, and the women group is harping on the notion to seek justice for the girl.
“If appropriate action is not taken by the state government in response to this scandal, the inaction will be counterproductive and an own goal by the government in light of the measures already taken by Ogun government to end sexual violence.
“In fact, it could be interpreted as a ploy to shield the commissioner from the law and prevent him from paying for his crimes,” Akiyode-Afolabi said.
According to the group, fact-finding is imperative, as it concerns a Commissioner in Ogun State Government who had taken novel and unprecedented steps in 2020 against Gender-Based Violence by inaugurating a Gender-Based Violence Prohibition Committee to respond appropriately to any infraction of the law, as statutorily required by Violence Against Women Prohibition Law of Ogun State, 2018.
Akiyode-Afolabi said justice for the girl will give credence to the state’s zero-tolerance and commitment to sexual violence against women.
The group, however, commended the Ogun State Government for its swift response to the matter by way of suspending the commissioner.
“While this is laudable, it must not be allowed to end there. “In furtherance of its commitment, the State Government adopted a Sex Offenders’ Register to record and publish names of sex offenders. Mr Abudu-Balogun’s despicable act, therefore, is a textbook case of persistent disregard of the law by public office holders who have sworn allegiance to the law.”