Nigerian Govt Suspends Foreign Affairs Ministry Permanent Secretary Over Alleged Sexual Harassment Of Married Woman, Others

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She asked that disciplinary actions should be taken against Lamuwa to serve as a deterrent to others.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa, has been suspended by the Office of the Head of Service of alleged sexual harassment.

According to Daily Sun, 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.

“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.

Media on Monday broke the news that 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 a petition obtained  on Monday, 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.

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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.

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.

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“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.”


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