A Court of Appeal sitting in Akure, Ondo State, has dismissed the appeal of Richard Akindele, sacked lecturer of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, challenging his conviction for demanding sexual gratification from a student, Monica Osagie.
In 2018, Maureen Onyetenu, a Federal High Court judge in Osogbo, Osun State, sentenced Akindele to prison after he pleaded guilty to a four-count charge leveled against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
She sentenced Akindele to 24 months’ in jail for asking Monica for sexual benefits and handed him another 24 months’ jail-term for soliciting from the victim sexual benefits to award her marks.
The judge also sentenced Akindele to 12 months’ in prison for deleting parts of the WhatsApp conversation between him and Osagie to conceal evidence against him and sentenced him to another 12 months’ jail-term for falsification of age. She had held that the six-year jail term would run concurrently.
In the appeal filed by the dismissed lecturer, Akindele challenged his conviction on the grounds that the Federal High Court lacked the jurisdiction to try him.
His lawyer argued that the case ought to have been heard at the National Industrial Court since the alleged offences bordered on sexual harassment in the workplace.
However, in its judgement on Friday, the appellate court agreed with E.A. Shogunle, counsel for the respondent, that the jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court in criminal matters is not exclusive.
Consequently, the court affirmed Akindele’s conviction.
Akindele has completed his jail term and was released in April 2020.