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UPDATE: Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Officials Write Tinubu, List ‘Offences’ Of Perm Sec Accused Of Sexual Harassment

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Ibrahim Lamuwa, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is facing allegations of multiple instances of sexual harassment and other misconduct from some ministry officials.

In June, Simisola Fajemirokun Ajayi, a married female aide to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, accused Lamuwa of sexual harassment.

While Lamuwa has denied the allegation, claiming it was a misunderstanding related to his refusal to cover her expenses during a foreign trip, a group of concerned ministry employees have written a letter to President Bola Tinubu dated July 3, stating that this is not an isolated incident and that Lamuwa has a history of similar behavior.

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.

“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.”

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.

“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.

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.

“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”.

BIG STORY

Nigeria’s Foreign Reserves Now $37bn, Up By $2bn In 18 Days — CBN Governor Cardoso

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The country’s foreign exchange reserves have surged to $37.05 billion as of July 18 according to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

CBN Governor Yemi Cardoso announced this development during a press briefing on Tuesday, following the 296th Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja.

The reserves experienced a significant boost, rising by $2.35 billion from $34.70 billion at the end of June to $37.05 billion in just 18 days.

“As of July 18, 2024, external reserves stood at US$37.05 billion, compared with US$34.70 billion as of June 2024. This represents 11 months of import cover for goods and services,” Cardoso said.

However, according to data published by CBN and seen by TheCable, Nigeria’s foreign reserves stood between $35.93 billion as of July 18, and $36.23 billion as of July 22, less than what Cardoso presented.

On July 18, CBN approved the sale of foreign exchange (FX) to eligible bureau de change (BDC) operators at N1,450 per dollar to meet the demand for invisible transactions.

Days after, CBN said foreign currencies worth $106.5 million were sold to authorised dealers.

CBN said the aim is to improve supply in the FX market in tandem with its price stability mandate.

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President Tinubu Signs South-East, North-West Development Commission Bills Into Law

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President Bola Tinubu has officially signed into law the South-East and North-West Development Commission bills.

The South-East Development Commission bill was sponsored by Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu, who represents the Bende Federal Constituency of Abia State.

After passing through the Senate and House of Representatives, the bill was transmitted to the President in June for his assent.

With the signing of the bill into law, the Commission will now receive funding to execute various projects in the South-East geopolitical zone.

The allocated funds will be used to address environmental challenges such as erosion, as well as reconstruct and rehabilitate roads in Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, and Anambra states.

This move is expected to bring significant development and infrastructure improvements to the region.

In a statement issued by Levinus Nwabughiogu, his chief press secretary, Kalu expressed appreciation to the president for signing the bill into law.

The deputy speaker said the commission will “rehabilitate Igbo land” and foster unity among the people.

Tinubu also signed the north-west development commission bill into law.

Jibrin Barau, deputy senate president and sponsor of the bill, said the signing of the proposed legislation is a “testament” to Tinubu’s “commitment to addressing the challenges facing the north-west geopolitical zone and indeed all parts of the country”.

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BIG STORY

Wike Urges Nigerians To Be Patient With FG, Says Planned Protest Political

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Nyesom Wike, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has dismissed the upcoming nationwide protest as a politically motivated move.

Speaking to journalists on Tuesday during an inspection of the Karshi to Apo Road construction project, Wike expressed his views on the planned protest.

The youth-led protest, scheduled to begin on August 1, aims to draw attention to the country’s economic hardship and soaring inflation.

However, Wike believes that the protest is driven by political interests rather than a genuine concern for the welfare of Nigerians.

According to Wike, the government is actively working to address the country’s challenges, implying that the protest is unnecessary and potentially disruptive.

His comments suggest that the government is making efforts to mitigate the economic difficulties faced by Nigerians, and that the protest may be an attempt to undermine these efforts.

“Let’s tell ourselves the simple truth. If we are playing politics let’s say we are playing politics; if we want to be sincere to ourselves, let’s be sincere to ourselves and help our country,” NAN quoted Wike as saying.

“The country is rotten. You know that the country is rotten, and a government has just come to see what it can do to at least, move it from where we are to a certain level, and you say that miracle must be performed within one year.

“You are here now, we are talking about a project that was awarded 13 good years ago, what has happened? Nothing.

“Now a government has come to see how it can fix all these things and we are in too much of a hurry demanding that it must be done now.

“It is not possible. The protest is a political protest.”

The minister acknowledged that people are unhappy due to hunger and unemployment.

“So, let’s not listen to political protesters and political jobbers who just want to be popular. You know there are some people who believe that if they don’t criticise, they will not be popular,” he said.

“We are going to elections very soon; these are political gimmicks.

“Just know that the government is a serious government and working to solve the problem.

“We believe that things will turn around, but we should be patient with the government.”

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