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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Federal Permanent Secretary Accused Of Sexual Harassment By Married Staff

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf M. Tuggar

Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa, has reportedly been accused of sexual harassment by a married staff of the ministry, Simisola Fajemirokun Ajayi.

The ministry has sent the case to the Head of Service of the Federation, Folasade Yemi-Esan, for adjudication.

This followed a letter by the lawyer of Ajayi, Femi Falana, in a petition dated May 29, 2024, to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf M. Tuggar.

According to Solacebase, the petition, signed on behalf of Falana by Adebayo A. Oniyelu, called for an investigation into the case of alleged “sexual harassment, abuse of office, intimidation and discrimination.”

Titled: “Request for an investigation of Ambassador Ibrahim Lamuwa’s conducts of sexual harassment at the place of work, abuse of office, official intimidation and discrimination, the petition read:

“Our attention has been drawn to the bizarre and continuous incidents of sexual harassment, intimidation, oppression, discrimination and conduct likely to breach the public peace within your esteemed Ministry by Amb. Ibrahim Lamuwa.

“Amb. Ibrahim Lamuwa’s conduct has created an unsafe and uncomfortable working environment for our client and other staff within your Ministry due to the disturbing experiences and ordeals from the Permanent Secretary.

“Consequent to the foregoing, we seek the intervention of your good office on the above-captioned matter based on the following facts:

“1. October 7, 2023 during the first policy retreat to review President Tinubu’s 4D policy, Amb. Ibrahim Lamuwa approached our client to inquire as to why she did not sleep at the hotel and informed her that he would want her to come to his room after the event. Our client explained that she was a nursing mother and needed to go home to care for her baby. Dissatisfied with this, he reiterated his sexual advancement to our client by saying ‘Is it a big baby or small baby – he suspects it’s a big baby and would like to find out so he can join’. He, however, continued this line of inappropriate anecdotes throughout the retreat.

“2. On November 10, 2023: our client went to Amb. Ibrahim Lamuwa’s conference room where he was working out to discuss the plans to digitize the Ministry. Amb. Ibrahim Lamuwa invited her for a meeting later that afternoon with a team from Galaxy Backbone. During the conversation, Amb. Ibrahim Lamuwa requested our client take a voyage with him to Hong Kong. He further assured our client that our client’s life would never remain the same after the trip. Our client left the scene in utter shock and disappointment because of the awkwardness of the Permanent Secretary, Amb. Ibrahim Lamuwa’s discussion. While our client was about to excuse herself, Amb. Ibrahim Lamuwa thoughtlessly put his arms around our client’s arms and demanded a full frontal hug which she rejected.

“3. The Honourable Minister would recall that sometime in March 2024, our client discussed with you concerning her safety for fear of not being raped by Amb. Ibrahim Lamuwa resulting from the consistent sexual harassment reported even as a married woman. Upon her unfortunate predicament with the Permanent Secretary, the Honourable Minister assured our client of a change of behavior as he had confronted him.

“4. Sometime in May 2024, our client went to Amb. Ibrahim Lamuwa’s office under the Honourable Minister’s instruction at about 3:20 pm to inform the Permanent Secretary to contact his counterpart in the Ministry of Defence for the reports needed for the upcoming US trip.

“5. Upon arriving at the Permanent Secretary’s office, our client was informed that he was in his inner room. In her desperate attempt to avoid getting molested, our client returned to her office and interestingly, Amb. Ibrahim Lamuwa demanded that she return to his office at about 3:41 pm on the same day.

“6. As instructed, our client immediately returned to see the Permanent Secretary. On arriving at the Permanent Secretary’s office, he commented that our client had not been to his office since February because she had grudges against him. He then offered our client to drink tea from his cup whilst forcefully putting his arms around our client’s and referring to her as a ‘stubborn woman’.

“7. Our client again hurriedly left the Permanent Secretary’s office for fear of being molested after repeated demands of a tight hug from him as he had missed seeing her.

“8. It is pertinent to state that a discreet investigation conducted by our client revealed that more women are with unadorned allegations against the Permanent Secretary, particularly female directors who were almost raped in the hotel rooms and female foreign service officers who have been harassed, threatened and removed from trips, postings and other privileges because they declined to comply with Amb. Ibrahim Lamuwa’s uncontrolled sexual urges.

“Given the above-stated facts, the Honourable Minister would agree with us that sexual harassment, intimidation, oppression, discrimination and abuse of office in any form are unacceptable. They violate your Ministry’s policies as well as ethical standards. It includes but is not limited to unwanted advances, inappropriate comments, and any behaviour that creates a hostile work environment.

“In the circumstances, we humbly request you to use your revered office to cause a detailed investigation to be carried out into the facts presented in this petition against Amb. Ibrahim Lamuwa and if found liable, appropriate disciplinary actions should be meted against him as this will serve as a deterrent against future reoccurrence of such infractions.

“Whilst we hope that the salient issues raised in the letter will be given the required attention, please accept, as usual, Your Excellency, the assurances of our principal, Mr Femi Falana SAN’s warmest regards.”

However, the date on the letter via which Ambassador Tuggar forwarded the petition to Yemi-Esan set some confusion into the case.

It was dated May 27, 2024.

But the petition by Ajayi, through her lawyer was dated May 29, 2024.

Tuggar wrote to Yemi-Esan via a letter he personally signed, titled: “Re: Official complaint regarding sexual harassment of Mrs Simisola Fajemirokun Ajayi by Ambassador Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa (Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs).”

It read: “I am compelled to write to inform you of a formal complaint against the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa on allegations of sexual harassment.

“Bearing in mind the gravity of the matter, I feel it necessary to draw your attention to it and ask that you handle it accordingly.

“Please find attached a copy of the complaint I received via email. May I also assure you that I remain available to provide you with any assistance required in discharging your responsibilities?”

However, the writer of the petition from Falana and Falana Chambers, Adebayo Oniyelu, confirmed the authenticity of the document to The Eagle Online.

Oniyelu, who said he was heading to the court on Tuesday morning when The Eagle Online contacted him, said: “Yes, it is from me.

“It is from me.

“From my office, Falana Chambers.”

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