Two former students at Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma who accused their lecturer of demanding sex for marks eight years ago have been sent to jail.
The duo, who are siblings, Judith Ivie Okosun and Juliet Obehi Okosun, had been among others who stirred controversy about Peter Otubu, who was then a lecturer in the sex-for-marks scandal. That scandal saw the latter losing his job.
EduCeleb.com reports that an online video of naked Dr Otubu sparked outrage nationwide in 2010 when he was said to have been caught in bed with one of the ladies.
Otubu was a lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Electronics of the institution at the time. He had continuously denied any wrongdoing. Following his sack by his employers, Otubu sued the then students and others on six count charges.
The controversy came to a climax with the delivery of judgement by Chief Magistrate Martina Iluobe of Ekpoma Chief Magistrate Court, Esan West Local Government Area, last weekend which sentenced the two former students who had since graduated from the institution to two years imprisonment, for unlawful detention and indecent assault of Otubu.
Delivering judgement in the case marked MEK/18C/2012, Iluobe recalled that Juliet Obehi Okosun (second accused person) had admitted in her evidence before the court that she had the key to the apartment where the first accused person, Judith Ivie Okosun, unlawfully assaulted Dr. Otubu.
The then lecturer was held hostage and stripped Unclad at their one-room apartment in a private female hostel near the university on 17 July 2010.
The accused persons were also said to have made Dr. Otubu to issue a cheque in the sum of N100,000 in favour of Judith Ivie Okosun.
The court specifically established that in the recorded video clips which was also posted in the internet by one Oziengbe, now at large, the second accused person had told court that she was in possession of the key to the apartment where Engr. Otubu was held, making her liable for the unlawful detention of the lecturer.
Chief Magistrate Iluobe, however, discharged and acquitted the accused persons on counts 1, 5, and 6 which bothered on conspiracy and stealing and frivolous petition against Otubu, following the failure of the prosecution to prove these beyond reasonable doubt.
It also discharged and acquitted the 3rd to 7th accused persons, Esther Ogbeide (21), Samson Ogbeide (32), Igbudu Samuel (42), Ojeabulu Eghosa Clement (37) and Aruya Ohis Williams (24) for lack of substantial evidence against them.
Lack of call log evidence stalled prosecution
According to the court, the failure of telecommunications giant, MTN to provide calls log of conversations between the first Principal Witness (Engr. Iluobe) and some of the accused persons as required by the prosecution to prove his case was fatal to the prosecution.
Chief Magistrate Iluobe tongue-lashed Engr. Otubu, saying he “suffered for the sin of immorality to have gone to the room of her student which resulted in the show of shame, humiliation and torture which left his career in ruins.
“This court is of the view that there is a very strong conspiracy and set up against Engr. Peter Otubu, even though the defense Counsel had submitted before the court that suspicion does not amount to conspiracy.
“Throughout the length and breadth of the case, there is a thread which runs through criminal procedure of the case against the accused persons.
“Therefore, I hold that count 1 has not been proved as required by the law. For count 2, the the first and second accused persons had testified that the allegations were communicated to the school authorities about the show of shame.
“I believe them in this, because judging from the position of the the Principal Witness (PW1) and the first accused person, the whole truth was found and doctored. Such situation is highly embarrassing to him as a lecturer, his family and the university community,” she said.
Responding to the judgment, counsel to the defendants, Olayowola Afolabi, agreed with the judgement on the sexual promiscuity of PW1, describing it as “a show of shame.”
But he pleaded with the court for clemency for the convicted persons on the ground that they were first offenders, stressing that the second convict is a nursing mother.
“The first accused person, my lord, is about to get married. I had to plead with the husband to allow her to come to court.
“My lord, the first and second accused persons were first offenders. My lord also has the option to caution the convicts in view of the circumstances. My lord is a woman who knows where the shoe is pinching us.
“So, my lord, I am pleading. Literally, my lord, I am on my knees. It is a show of shame for the lecturer to come to the house of his student”.
Following the pleading from the counsel to the defendants, Chief Magistrate Iluobe handed down an option of fine to the first and second accused persons in lieu of imprisonment.
In his reaction to the judgement, Otubu who was highly elated, said the judgement has vindicated him.
“I am okay. The principal suspect, Ivie Okosun and her sister, Juliet Obehi Okosun, have been convicted and jailed, whether they were given an option of fine or not.
“To correct the erroneous impression that I was dismissed, I was never dismissed from AAU. My appointment was terminated following the video that was posted on the Internet,” he said.