Gender & SGBVNews

Minor Accuses Former House of Rep Member Of Sexual Harassment

The former lawmaker has, however, called the allegation ‘political blackmail’ from his adversaries

Melojuekun Barakat, a 16-year-old student of Victory Model College, in Ogun Waterside Local Government Area of Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria has accused a former member of the House of Representatives, Abiodun Abudu-Balogun of sexually harassing her in his private residence in Ita-Otu area of the state.

The minor made the allegation in a viral video posted on Facebook on  Saturday, January 2.

Abudu-Balogun was a member of the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2015, under the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and he represented Ijebu East/Ijebu North/Ogun Waterside Federal Constituency.

In the video, the teenager alleged that Abudu-Balogun, who is currently the Commissioner for Environment in Ogun State, connived with her uncle and a teacher from another secondary school to lure her to his house, where he sexually harassed her by touching her breasts.

“On the 31st of December, Mr Lasisi Mayor went to my grandparents and told them that someone needed a computer operator. He asked if I could operate a computer and I said yes, I can. He said I should go and change my clothes, that I am going to meet someone who needs a computer operator,” Barakat narrated in the video.

“On getting to Honorable Abudu’s house at Ita Otu, he said I should sit down inside the car that I must not get down. Then a lady named Mariam Eniola from Ita Otu came to take me to one living room. Then Mr Austin entered and asked why I did not pick my phone yesterday, I answered that I was not with my phone, he said okay, then took me to a room inside the Honourable’s house.

“The Honourable then came in and Mr Austin went out. Honourable Abudu-Balogun locked the door instantly and put the key in his pocket. So he moved closer to me and asked the name of my school; he said how much is my school fees and I told him that it is N30,000; he asked me the person paying my school fees, I told him that it is my dad. He said okay that one is a small thing.”

She said the former lawmaker asked if she was planning to start a business to which she replied no, noting that she would rather enrol at a higher institution of learning first. 

“He said how much would I need, I said any amount; he said I should state an amount, I said any amount,” she continued.

“He moved closer to me and he touched my breast; I moved away, and told him that he should not touch my breast. He asked me that won’t I cooperate? I said ‘why will I cooperate?’ Then he started pressing my breast and my body; I was struggling to free myself from him. Then he started reciting some incantation and wanted to place his hands on my head. I moved my head and said he should not touch my head. He wanted to force me inside the bathroom, then I started shouting.

“Because people are around his compound and he did not want them to know what was happening, he left me; he gave me N2000 for transport and asked me to leave; I rejected the money; he said if I don’t accept the money, he won’t let go of me. So I collected the money and he opened the door.

“He then told Mr Austin to take me to our house. This has never happened to me in my life,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner, in a statement he released shortly after the video went viral, denied the allegation, saying he had only wanted to help the girl.

He said the girl’s uncle, whom he described as a ‘loyalist’ brought her to his house so that he could help her get a job as a computer operator.

He said he had a chat with her in his sitting room, after which he gave her “some amount of money for her transportation.”

“The girl was brought to my house by one of my loyalists who is her uncle, to assist her to 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.

“Let it be noted that in my career, I have assisted many youth to secure jobs, some are working with me in my different businesses… Let me state emphatically that I never attempted to sexually harass anyone.”

Abudu-Balogun described the video as “teleguided” and “political blackmail by my adversaries”.

HumAngle learnt that the former lawmaker has been formally invited by the Ogun State Police command.

The invitation later sighted by HumAngle shows that he was invited by the Divisional Police Officer of the Divisional Headquarters in Abigi.

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