A Federal High Court in Ibadan, Oyo State has given a judicial reprieve to Dr. Martins Fabunmi, a lecturer at the University of Ibadan, in a case of alleged sexual harassment of a female student of the institution.
Fabunmi had been dismissed from service by the university management over the allegation by Thelma Adoseh.
The embattled Fabunmi had reported Adoseh, Kolawole Adesina, Peter Ogere and Olufemi Adesina, all students of the university, to the Divisional Police Station at Sango in Ibadan. He reported the students for alleged assault and armed robbery, upon which they were arrested and later granted administrative bail. The suspects, however, jumped bail, which informed why the police contacted their sureties, Ogundele Oyeleke and Adeleye Adebayo, both staff of the university, to produce them.
The sureties had approached the applicants to save them from police harassment by producing the suspects, but the parents instead of producing the suspects rushed to the court to sue the police authorities in the country, with the embattled lecturer, Fabunmi, joined as a party. The parents – Stella Ogere, Major Joseph Adesina (rtd) and Innocent Adoseh – filed three separate suits on the matter.
The suits filed before Justice J.O. Abdulmalik of the Federal High Court were FHC/IB/CS/69/2016, FHC/IB/CS/70/2016, and FHC/IB/CS/71/2016 respectively. The plaintiffs complained of attempted arrest by the police on alleged offences committed by their children. They told the court about their impending arrest for their inability to produce their children to face charges for the offence allegedly committed by the children.
The counsels described the action as unlawful, unconstitutional and a wrongful infringement on their fundamental right to personal liberty, human dignity and freedom of movement. They subsequently sought an order of the court restraining the defendants from violating or infringing on their fundamental rights and the payment of N12 million as damages. The defence counsels were S.E. Aruwaji for the Police, while Femi Aborisade and Nweke C. Umunna stood for Fabunmi.
Dismissing the claims, Abdulmalik, having listened to counter arguments by the defence counsels, held that the applicants instituted the suit as a decoy to divert the police authorities from their investigation.
Abdulmalik said: “I find from the entire submissions in applicants’ applications that there is no reasonable cause of action in the motions against the respondents.”
He pointed out that the applicants failed to debunk the fact that the suspects were not reasonably indicted by the police authorities pursuant to the complaint of Fabunmi to warrant their production by their sureties.
He cited ‘Exhibit J’ as the evidence to assuage the court, which is the letter of apology from applicants’ children, and ‘Exhibit E’, which is another letter of apology signed by the parents.
Abdulmalik said: “We are convinced that the case is a set up against you and therefore, we apologize on their behalf and plead with you to tamper justice with mercy.”
The judge said it was curious that parents, whose children were accused of assault and armed robbery or whose daughter was sexually abused, would, in turn write a letter of apology to the villain.
He added that ‘Exhibit E’ had definitely deflated the core of the applicants’ suits because it begged to reason.