The Ekiti State Chapter of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) has demanded the immediate arrest and prosecution of a member of the House of Assembly, Mr. Dare Pelemo, for alleged sexual harassment and physical assault of a widow, Mrs. Mercy Ilesanmi.
Pelemo, who represents Ekiti East Constituency 2, allegedly fondled the breasts of the woman on September 6 at the Assembly complex. Mrs. Ilesanmi raised alarm and condemned the alleged act but the lawmaker later allegedly mobilized thugs who beat up the woman.
Mrs. Ilesanmi said the brutality on her took place in the office of the Majority Leader, Mr. Tunji Akinyele, where she had gone to lodge a complaint on the alleged sexual harassment. She said the hoodlums gave her the beating of her life and tore her clothes.
Ekiti FIDA legal officer, Mrs. Kemi Atitebi, disclosed on Tuesday the body received a complaint of sexual harassment and assault of Mrs. Ilesanmi against Pelemo but the legislator shunned the invitation to come and defend himself against the allegation.
She said: “FIDA Ekiti received the complaint of sexual harassment and assault against Hon. Dare Pelemo and the complainant is Mrs. Mercy Ilesanmi that she was assaulted and stripped naked right the premises of the Assembly complex.
“FIDA wrote a letter to invite the respondent for us to hear his own side of the story and to mediate in the matter.
“The woman is a widow and mother of children and her dignity has been violated for the fact that she was stripped naked.FIDA strongly condemns any form of assault against women in the state.
Narrating her ordeal, the victim, Mrs. Ilesanmi said: “I came to visit the honourable member representing my constituency, Hon. Samuel Omotoso but I met his absence.
“On my way out, I met Hon. Dare Pelemo and we exchanged pleasantries. Immediately, he fondled my breasts and I asked him what was the meaning of that, I am a married woman for that matter and I don’t like how he touched my breast.
“He now said that I am an enemy of government, that I do not suppose to come to the Assembly. I now asked him that, is that the reason why you are touching my breasts, a married woman for that matter? I challenged him that Pelemo, that one is too much for you.
“I went to report the matter to Hon. Akinyele and I met the Clerk in Hon. Akinyele’s office with two other visitors with him. He was on phone but I waited.
“Before I knew what was happening, Pelemo came in with some miscreants and they started beating me, destroying things in that office asking what am I doing in the House of Assembly complex that I am not supposed to be there, that I am an enemy of the government.”
Mrs. Ilesanmi’s lawyer, Mr. Adeoye Aribasoye, said he has forwarded a petition on the assault and sexual harassment of his client to the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Chafe.
Aribasoye said: “We have written a petition on the brutality and sexual harassment to the state police command and it is already receiving the attention of the Commissioner of Police.
“Besides, FIDA in Ekiti is also investigating the case and I believe that very soon, an action will be taken on the matter.”
Efforts to get Pelemo’s reaction to the allegation proved abortive as he has not answered several phone calls o hi mobile line. He has also not responded to text messages sent to him.