On December 31, 2020, the Ogun State Commissioner for Environment, Abiodun Abdul-Balogun was accused of attempted rape by a 16-year-old student at his apartment in the state. Her account is presented below;
He (her uncle) told my grandmother that someone needed a computer operator and asked me to dress corporately so he could take me there. He then took me to the commissioner’s house and asked me to wait at the gate. By the time I got inside, I saw someone who claimed to be the aide of the commissioner who had been calling me. He said I should follow him to where the computer was and I did.
Immediately the commissioner came into the room, his aide left and he locked the door and kept the key in his pocket. He asked for my school and class and I told him I am in SS3. The commissioner then asked if I was interested in any business and I said no. He asked if I have new year clothes and I said yes. He kept asking me what I needed and I told him nothing. He asked if I would collect a cash gift from him and I said I would. He then started pushing me onto the bed and pressing my breasts while chanting incantations. So I started shouting on top of my voice.
He jumped off me and brought out the key from his pocket. He offered me N2,000 but I rejected it. He locked the door again and threatened not to let me go until I collected the money. I collected it and he pushed me out of the room.
Supported by her parents, she’s filed a case against the commissioner at the Area Police Division in Abigi, Ogun State.
How has the Government responded?
On Monday, the Ogun State Government in a statement signed by Tokunbo Talabi, the Secretary to the Ogun State Government, suspended Abdul-Balogun from office to enable proper investigation by the police. In the statement, the government cited its commitment to zero tolerance for gender-based violence and emphasized the rule of law regardless of status. The suspended Commissioner was also directed to hand over to the Permanent Secretary of the ministry.
Why it Matters
Though the case has since been withdrawn, the action taken by the Ogun State government against a sitting commissioner is laudable. Public servants must be held to the highest form of ethical standards and properly served justice.