Foreign Affairs Sex Scandal: More women testify against Perm Sec

The controversies and a series of serious allegations surrounding the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ibrahim Lamuwa, have taken on a different dimension.

The Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), the labour union in the Ministry, is also up in arms against him over an accusation of highhandedness, maladministration, favouritism and financial improprieties, which have significantly affected the welfare and rights of the workers.

In a petition addressed to the Minister, Ambassador Tuggar and dated June 11, 2024, the staff union accused the Permanent Secretary of relegating all issues that have to do with staff welfare, allowances, emoluments, training, etc. to the background.

They specifically highlighted the denial of various benefits the workers were entitled to, which has been a source of their discontent for months.

In the petition obtained by PRNigeria, the union listed and explained in detail the series of benefits that the workers were entitled to that Ambassador Lamuwa has been denying them for months.

They accused him of unduly and illegally favouring a certain category of people and victimising those who do not dance to his tunes, in the area of posting, training and other benefits like Hajj seats.

Some of his alleged crimes against the labour union as listed in the petition include delay in payment of some benefits, delay in promotion and conversion of staff, lack of transparency in posting exercise, delay in paying of clothing allowance, discrimination in paying First 28 Days Allowance, lack of fairness in the distribution of the 2024 Hajj seats, inadequate posting of Batch B officers to foreign missions, poor sanitation and hygiene due to insufficient water supply, lack of work tools, dilapidated office buildings, and refusal to pay the 25th regular course allowance for nine months, among others.

In the petition signed by JNC Chairman, Comrade Ali Seidu, and Assistant General Secretary, Comrade Akpana S.E., the union urged the Minister to look into their grievances and address the series of injustices allegedly done by the Permanent Secretary to avoid drastic action by the workers.

“Consequent upon the maladministration, dwindling level of productivity occasioned by the administrative leadership apathy in the ministry, the JNC has been engaging with the management, thinking its solidarity with the authorities of the Ministry will yield positive results and prompt action on pending issues.

“Unfortunately, there was no corresponding improvement; instead, the management has become worse, unreceptive and very harsh to everyone who dares to speak and ask questions. Victimization, intimidation, and harassment have become tools the management uses to shut down critics while the staff of the Ministry continue to suffer.

“The staff members of the Ministry are outraged by the egregious neglect, surreptitious administrative skullduggery, manipulations and commercialisation of the Ministry’s activities by the Permanent Secretary and his allies under the guise of rejuvenation. They have introduced harmful practices that threaten the very fabric of our Institution. We demand an immediate end to all their destructive policies and a return to the principles of fairness, equity and transparency. We call on the Honourable Minister to direct the authorities to investigate these grievances and take swift action.

“We, the staff, hereby give a 21-days ultimatum to the Management to immediately address the grievances outlined in our communiqué, failure to do so will be met with strong resistance,” the petition read in part.

In his response, the Minister called for calm and promised to look into their grievances.

It would be recalled that the Permanent Secretary had been in the eye of the storm for days over allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by one Mrs. Simisola Fajemirokun-Ajayi, who is said to be an aide to the Minister.

The lady wrote a petition to the Minister, which forced the latter to equally write to the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Folasade Yemi-Esan, to probe the allegation of sexual harassment against the Permanent Secretary.

The Head of Service also set up a panel to investigate the allegations and suspended the Permanent Secretary pending the probe’s outcome.

Meanwhile, further investigations by PRNigeria show that at least three more women have approached the probe panel to lodge similar allegations of sexual harassment against the Permanent Secretary.

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