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BREAKING: Permanent Secretary In Cobweb Of Alleged Sexual Harassment Reportedly Suspended

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Ambassador Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa





Ambassador Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, allegedly accused of sexual harassment of a marriage woman in his work place, has been reportedly suspended.

BIGPEN NIGERIA (https://bigpenngr.com) understands that the Office of the Head of Service has requested Lamuwa to step down to pave way for thorough investigation of the allegations.

A high-ranking source within the ministry, disclosed that Lamuwa was requested to step down by the Office of the Head of Service. “He was given until last Friday to relinquish his position, and Benaoyagha Okoyen, the former Nigerian Ambassador to Cuba, took over as acting head on Monday”, the source quoted by Daily Sun said.

The ministry source stated that if the rules are properly applied, Lamuwa’s actions would warrant dismissal due to gross misconduct.

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The allegations of sexual harassment against Lamuwa were officially brought to the attention of the Head of Service by Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister, Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Tuggar.
 
“If they don’t try to play politics based on where he is coming from, if the rules are properly applied, it is dismissal because it is gross misconduct,” the source was quoted as saying.

According to Sahara Reporters, in an earlier report, Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Tuggar had written to the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, officially complaining about allegations of sexual harassment against Lamuwa.
 
In the petition, a married employee of the ministry, Mrs Simisola Fajemirokun Ajayi, disclosed the excesses of the permanent secretary to Ambassador Tuggar, through her lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), and urged the minister to investigate the permanent secretary.
 
She asked that disciplinary actions should be taken against Lamuwa to serve as a deterrent to others.

The petition dated May 29, 2024 and titled: “Request For An Investigation Of Amb. Ibrahim Lamuwa’s Conducts Of Sexual Harassment At The Place Of Work, Abuse Of Office Official Intimidation And Discrimination,” was signed by Adebayo A. Oniyelu LP for Falana & Falana’s.
 
Ajayi recounted the Permanent Secretary’s history of harassment, recalling that the minister had previously intervened and she had been assured that the behavior would cease. However, in May, the Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Ibrahim Lamuwa, allegedly resumed his inappropriate behavior, creating a hostile and uncomfortable work environment for the counsel’s client and other ministry staff.
 
Ajayi’s counsel recounted one of the instances saying, “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 3:41pm on the same day.

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“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”.
 
“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.
 
“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.”
 
Dated May 27, 2024, the minister’s letter to the Head of Service which was obtained by SaharaReporters on Monday is titled: “RE: Official Complaint Regarding Sexual Harassment Of Mrs Simisola Fajemirokun Ajayi By Ambassador Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa (Permanent Secretary Ministry Of Foreign Affairs).”
 
“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,” the minister, Amb. Tuggar stated in the letter he personally signed.
 
“Bearing in mind the gravity of the matter,” he said, “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.”
 
The minister attached a copy of the petition he received from Mrs Ajayi’s lawyers, which read in part, “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.”
 
But responding to the allegation through his lawyer, Lamuwa, who had worked in the Presidency before now, said: “We are legal representatives of Ambassador Ibrahim Lamuwa (hereinafter referred to as ‘our client’), the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and have been authorised to make the following statement on his behalf, in response to allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by Mrs Simisola O. Fajemirokun-Ajayi, an aide to the Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“The media, particularly the social media has been inundated with the digital copy of a petition written by legal representatives of Mrs. Simisola O. Fajemirokun-Ajayi against Amb. Lamuwa. This petition was clearly leaked in order to generate sympathy for her unsubstantiated claims.

“We wish to state categorically that our client has never made any sexual advances towards Mrs. Simisola O. Fajemirokun-Ajayi, who he is aware is a married woman, neither has he ever made suggestive comments or innuendos that requested any form of untoward relationship between himself and her.

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“Our client distinctly recalls the events that took place at the ministry’s retreat on October 7th 2023 where Mrs Simisola O. Fajemirokun-Ajayi claims that he invited her to his room. Our client states categorically that, he never made such an invitation and that his only communication with Mrs Fajemirokun-Ajayi, which was an overt one, was where he checked on her, like he did to all participants on whether they had been well-lodged in their hotels.

“He further recalls that the instance where he spoke of her as a nursing mother, during the same retreat was in a colloquial conversation they were having with other participants, where one participant even responded jokingly that when a woman says ‘her baby’ it could mean either her husband or one of her children, of which he innocuously joked asking ‘how big is the baby?’ Our client maintains that those conversations were made jokingly and sees their misinterpretation as malicious and with ill-intent.

“Our client also maintains that it is an absurdity for Mrs Fajemirokun-Ajayi to claim that he invited her to Hong Kong, given that the conversation they were both having was on how Honk Kong had digitised its work processes as far back as 1999. Our client wonders how such a conversation became interpreted as an invitation for her to travel alongside himself knowing fully well that she is an aide to the minister. How can she possibly leave the minister to follow the permanent secretary, on a vacation? Would that not be the height of delusion for the one requesting, as well as the one heeding to the request?

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“It is clear that the minister’s aide has misinterpreted ordinary conversations, made openly and in the presence of other participants, for untoward intentions. We believe that these allegations are directly tied to our client’s firm objections raised regarding improper requests that Mrs Fajemirokun-Ajayi made, particularly to financial matters in the ministry.

“For example, Mrs. Fajemirokun-Ajayi made a trip to the World Economic Forum (Davos), of which she sought a reimbursement from the ministry for. Our client firmly explained to her that while the ministry may look at avenues to refund her expenses, it is not the appropriate process for a trip to be made without an approval, and then funded with taxpayers’ money.

“Further to this, is the fact of Mrs Fajemirokun-Ajayi’s unfamiliarity with civil service rules and processes where she had requested from our client access to policy files and even financial records of high-level activities of the ministry. By no means, should the permanent secretary, as chief accounting officer of the ministry provide such sensitive documents to an aide of the minister, worse via a WhatsApp chat. There are due processes in government, and they must be followed.

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“We must emphasise that Mrs Fajemirokun-Ajayi is a political appointee and not a civil servant. Thus, matters of finance and policy are out of bounds for her in this instance.

“It is crucial to mention that our client, in all his 32 years of service in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, never received a query nor a report against him bordering on harassment, let alone, sexual harassment. In the course of this period, our client has served in Hong Kong, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Syria and more recently, Senegal, and there has never been a negative report on his conduct in any of these countries.”

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