Sexual Harassment Plague Miss Nollywood | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Sexual Harassment Plague Miss Nollywood

Posted: Jun 4, 2016 at 6:47 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

*Organisers clear air allegations

Hazeez Balogun


Following the dethronement of Miss Nollywood Culture and Tourism 2016, Grace Okoro Adaeze, her colleague and the current Miss Nollywood 2016, Miss Blessing Ogar, has resigned. Ogar tendered her resignation during the week after citing the unfair treatment meted out to her dethroned colleague.

Adaeze’s dethronement which was expected to take effect immediately was said to be due to “her arrogant behaviour and rudeness.”

Adaeze had recently spoken to some members of the press alleging that she and other contestants were harassed for sex by the organisers and the chief organiser, Mr. Barakumo Odede. She said he had demanded for money from contestants. She also alleged that organisers attempted to pimp them her out to politicians.Barakumo Odede

Following Adaeze’s removal, Ogar has backed her dethroned colleague by resigning as well.  Ogar also alleging that the organisers had defaulted in the various arrangements they made with her.

In her resignation letter Blessing Ogar, alleged that the organisers of the pageant mandated her to “corroborate the lies and allegations they leveled against the dethroned queen,” something she says was against her conscience.

She stated that she had better resigned because the organisation would also dethrone her if she refuses to corroborate their lies, adding that the organisation has defaulted on their previous agreements and defaulted in availing her of her entitlements as Miss Nollywood 2016.

Meanwhile, they had already started advertising for a new queen while they are yet to pay her the prize money.

Statement from the resignation letter reads, “Please accept this letter as a notice of my resignation from my position as Miss Nollywood Nigeria 2016. My last date as Miss Nollywood Nigeria 2016 is May 30th, 2016. I was shocked and dumb founded after seeing the dethronement of one of the most hard working Queens in the foundation. After careful reasoning and consultation with friends and family, I realise that it is better for me to protect and safeguard my future by humbly resigning from my office.”

However, Box office has reached out to the organisers of the Miss Nollywood Pageant and the response received was far from what the queens’ relayed of events. The pageant is organised by BK Global Movies and Entertainment which is owned by Barakumo Odede.

In a chat with Box Office, Odede claimed that there was no such thing that transpired between him and the queens. In fact, it was the two queens that broke the rules and regulations of the pageant.

“If you look into the constitution of the pageant you will understand why I took the decision to dethrone Grace Okoro Adaeze. According to Section 5 of our constitution, no queen after winning the Miss Nollywood Pageant can parade herself anywhere without the permission of the BK Global Movies.Blessing-Ogar

But Grace has been going around parading herself as queen. She went to Bayelsa for an event without telling us. It was people who knew me that called to tell me she was in Bayelsa. The least she could have done was to tell the pageant about her movement.

“She also failed to sign the terms and conditions of the organisation which goes against our laws. She also went to a certain Local Government to give children books, without our permission. Lastly if you look at Section 8 of our constitution, you will find a clause that says that any queen cannot appoint herself a manager without BK Global Movies’ permission. She went ahead to get herself a manager.

So after breaking so many laws of the pageant, we had a meeting and decided to dethrone her,” he said.

On the issue of Blessing who resigned after Adaeze was dethroned, Odede also cited the improper understanding of the terms and conditions of the pageant as the cause of her rants.

“She says we owe her N1m, that we did not pay up. But if she looks at the rules, she will see that the money is not what we will give them in lump sums. There are things we will facilitate that will be taken from the money. We are also to take care of her from there. Not that we will not give them cash, but some of the money will also go for their logistics and their pet projects,” Odede said.

Grace Okoro Adaeze also accused Barakumo Odede of sexual assault and trying to sell her off to men. Adaeze says, “One night during camping, Mr Barakumo told us all that he will interview us but it will be privately done in his room. We went in one after the other. I went in when it was my turn and Mr Barakumo was behaving very funny that made me very uncomfortable in that room. Amongst other things, he asked me if I had a boyfriend, and I said yes, and he said that Queens don’t have boyfriends but rich men pays for it. I left the room angrily and upset. I later found out that he asked other contestants for sex too during the one-on-one interview sessions.

“On one faithful night again, Mr Bara sent me a text to meet him at the corridor, which I did. But he was not there, then I called him and he asked me to open the next room’s door. When I did, I saw him sitting on a chair with a worried look. He said he needed to make love to me. I then reminded him of my boyfriend. This word got him angry and he then told me that other contestants were begging for it while he is giving it to me for free and I’m rejecting his offer. He pulled off his clothes and tried to get me down then I slapped him, struggled to get away from him and ran to my room immediately. He later sent me a text that he was sorry that he didn’t know what came over him and pleaded that I shouldn’t tell anyone about it.”

Odede, debunked this tale calling it defamation of character and has vowed to take Adaeze to court over the allegations. “I am surprised she can say such a thing. Why would I want to rape a girl I am working with or any girl for that matter? I see all of the contestants as my younger sisters and I try my best to protect them. So where can rape or sexual harassment come from? If it is true that I harassed her, why did she not talk before the pageant held? Why did she not talk after she won? Why did she not talk when she was the queen? Now after six months she says I harassed her sexually, is it because she was dethroned that she is saying all these things?

“I have built a reputable pageant over the years and I will not allow one person to destroy all that. I will go to court to clear my name, and I urge her to do the same if she thinks I have wronged her in any way or I have done anything against the law.”