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Foreign affairs ministry’s officials write Tinubu, list ‘offences’ of perm sec accused of sexual harassment

Ibrahim Lamuwa

Some officers of the federal ministry of foreign affairs have accused Ibrahim Lamuwa, permanent secretary in the ministry, of  “multiple cases of sexual harassment and other infractions”.

In June, Simisola Fajemirokun Ajayi, a married female aide of  Yusuf Tuggar, minister of foreign affairs, accused Lamuwa of sexual harassment.

Lamuwa has since denied the allegation, claiming that he turned down Ajayi’s request to pay her bills during an overseas trip.

However, in a letter dated July 3 and addressed to President Bola Tinubu, the employees, under the aegis of “concerned and patriotic foreign service officers,” claimed that the accusation against Lamuwa by Ajayi was not the first of its kind.

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They added that sexual harassment allegations against the permanent secretary have become “a recurring feature in his entire public service career,” including harassment of children.

“His unbridled sexual assaults and harassment on minors and women is legendary,” the letter reads.

“Cases include harassment of neighbours’ children, as a young officer, while occupying government property at the foreign affairs quarters in Gwarimpa, Abuja; the inglorious removal from his post in Canada to avoid an impending declaration of persona non-grata (PNG), and sexual assault cases involving a large number of locally-recruited staff in our mission in Dakar, Senegal.

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“In Senegal, while serving as ambassador and principal representative of Mr President, ambassador Lamuwa threatened a female bank official, saddled with the management of the embassy’s account, that he would ensure the movement of the mission’s account to another financial institution in the event that she does not agree to engage in sexual activities with him.

“It took the voice recording of the incident before Ambassador Lamuwa could withdraw from his inherent evil intentions.

“More recently at the ministry’s headquarters, a married female policy officer tasked with the implementation of presidential reforms could not resist the intense pressure, and she succumbed to Ambassador Lamuwa’s threat and was duly rewarded for her compliance in the yet-to-be-released 2024 posting exercise without due diligence.

“All these incidents could have been avoided if a system of checks and balances was in place in the administration of the ministry, with the appointment of under-secretaries.”

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Aside from the issue of sexual harassment, the group also accused the permanent secretary of sabotaging the ministry.

“In the last 24 months, all Nigerian missions abroad have received 20 percent of their budgeted allocation,” the ministry’s officers said.

“The affected missions wrote to Amb. Lamuwa, more than 21 months ago, to appeal for the budget shortfall, a result of the government’s policy on the unification of the exchange rate, to be brought to the attention of Mr President, but Ambassador Lamuwa rather devised a plan to suffocate missions and utilize the untoward situation for his personal gains.

“With the assistance of the director of finance and account (DFA), Amb. Lamuwa suppressed all missions’ desperate appeal and began to peddle a misrepresentation to the honourable minister of foreign affairs and other high-level government officials that missions are financially buoyant and the only reason they were writing was that officers at posts, who are diligently serving the country, wanted an excuse not to return. Even with several inquiries from the state house, Amb. Lamuwa remained obstinate in his covetous plot.

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“The far-reaching implication is that the jaundiced posting, as he had orchestrated and implemented, will give him unimpeded control over all the missions more than Mr President and the honourable minister of foreign affairs.”

They said embassies and offices in Asia—Rome, Geneva, Brussels, Tehran, and Bern—are drawing in debt and unable to pay rent and salaries.

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They accused Lamuwa of demonstrating impunity by claiming to be well-connected to principals at the State House, particularly the office of the vice-president.

“Ambassador Lamuwa is not an example of what the civil service should promote or be proud of, as he has indeed shown great disrespect and disregard for the service and government processes,” the group added.

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“Such individuals are a potent threat to society and should be confined to the walls of rehabilitation or correction facilities.”

The concerned ministry of foreign affairs officers asked President Tinubu to “direct a wider investigation of the issues stated in the letter to ascertain the facts and for necessary actions”.

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