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Sexual harrasment: Minister drags perm sec before Head of Service

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, has formally lodged a complaint with the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation regarding allegations of sexual harassment levelled against the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Ibrahim Lamuwa.

In a letter addressed to the HOCSF dated May 27, 2024, and sighted by our correspondent on Tuesday, Tuggar expressed his concern over the serious nature of the allegation levelled against the permanent secretary by Mrs Simisola Ajayi.

He emphasised the importance of addressing the matter urgently and thoroughly.

The letter was 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,”

The letter included an attachment of the complaint received via email, and Tuggar assured the HOCSF his full cooperation in the investigation.

“May I also assure you that I remain available to provide you with any assistance required in discharging your responsibilities,” he added.

The spokesperson for the Ministry, Amb. Eche Abu-Ode, confirmed the development in an interview with our correspondent on Tuesday.

“Yes. The complaint is true,” Abu-Ode said when asked to confirm the authenticity of the letter.

When contacted on the phone for his reaction, Lawuwa declined comment.

“I am in a meeting. Sorry, I cannot talk, please,” he simply said after our correspondent introduced herself and issue she wanted him to react to.

He has also yet to respond to a message sent to his WhatsApp on the matter as of the time of filing this report.

Also, when contacted, the Special Assistant on Media and Communications to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alkasim Abdulkadir, simply said, “No comment. The matter is being looked into by the relevant authorities.”

Ajayi, had a petition dated May 29, 2024, addressed to Tuggar, accused the permanent secretary of serial sexual harrasment.

Ajayi, through her lawyer Femi Falana (SAN), called for a thorough investigation into the actions of Amb. Lamuwa.

The petition, signed by Adebayo A. Oniyelu LP of Falana & Falana’s, was 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.”

According to the petition, Ajayi narrated multiple instances of harassment allegedly by Lamuwa, which have created an unsafe and uncomfortable working environment.

She claimed for instance that during a policy retreat on October 7, 2023, Lamuwa allegedly made inappropriate advances towards her, suggesting she joined him in his hotel room.

He reportedly continued with inappropriate remarks throughout the retreat.

She also cited an incident on November 10, 2023, where Lamuwa allegedly invited Ajayi to travel to Hong Kong, promising significant personal benefits from the trip.

Credit: Punch

 

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