A human rights advocacy group, the Centre for Basic Rights Protection and Accountability Campaign which has again called on authorities of University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) to properly investigate the case the case of alleged rape involving a lecturer in its Department of Foreign languages and Literature and a female student.
The student had claimed that he was sexually assaulted by the lecturer. But the lecturer claimed that the student physically assaulted him in her off campus residence located in Aluu community in the town.
Our correspondent learnt that the lecturer had allegedly visited the student and made sexual advances which the female rebuffed, but he tried to force her, leading to fisticuffs and raising of alarm by the student.
But in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Prince Wiro, on Friday, the Port Harcourt based human rights group said the University should give fair hearing to all the parties involved in the matter.
The group noted that colleagues of the female students it interviewed alleged that the lecturer was beaten when he attempted to sexually assault the 100 level, French student in her off Campus room at Aluu community.
Mr. Wiro urged the University to ensure the witnesses of the lecturer and the female student are considered and allowed to make voluntary statements at the panel investigating the matter.
He added that that his Organization believes in the capacity of the new Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Owunari Georgewill, to ensure justice to the parties involved.
Mr Wiro also enjoined students of higher institutions who are experiencing sexual harassment and extortion to approach rights group in the state for guidance and advise.
Meanwhile, UNIPORT has said the incident involving the lecturer and the French student is under investigation.
The University, in a statement signed by Sam Kpenu, its Public Relations Officer, said: “Thistle is to inform the public that a case of assault was reported by a Lecturer in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures against a female student in same Department of the University.
“The Management wishes to confirm that it has received such complaint which is currently being investigated by the appropriate authorities. The findings would be made public in no distant time.
UNIPORT clarified it is not true that the case was reported to Senate of the University as the online blog insinuated in its report.
“Members of the public are therefore, enjoined to remain calm as the institution will spare no effort to deal decisively with any one found culpable in line with the policy document on sexual harassment of the University, which is made available to all staff and students.
“The management wishes to reiterate that it welcomes inquiries as the institution runs an open-door policy and wishes to thank members of the public for their continued faith in the Institution and for believing in it as socially responsible.
“In the final analysis, the University will continue to promote love, excellence, integrity and accountability in all it does and will never harbour staff nor students with questionable character”.