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Foreign Ministry Perm Sec Denies Sexual Harassment Allegation, Says Accuser Seeking Money

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ABUJA, Nigeria – In a developing controversy, Ibrahim Lamuwa, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, has strongly denied allegations of sexual harassment made against him by Mrs. Simisola Fajemirokun-Ajayi, a political aide to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The allegations have sparked significant attention and prompted calls for an investigation.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Yusuf Tuggar addressed a letter dated May 27 to Mrs Folasade Yemi-Esan, the Head of the Federation’s civil service, urging a thorough probe into the allegations due to their serious nature.

“Given the gravity of the matter, I believe it is necessary to handle it accordingly,” Tuggar wrote, offering his support to Yemi-Esan in the investigation process.

The allegations, brought forth through a petition by Mrs Fajemirokun-Ajayi’s lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), claim that Ambassador Lamuwa had repeatedly sought sexual favours from her.

However, sources within the Ministry have cast doubt on the veracity of these claims, suggesting they may stem from underlying conflicts.

A source, requesting anonymity, indicated that the aide’s frustration over unmet demands might have led to the allegations.

“The lady lacks knowledge of the civil service rule on financial records and confidential documents restricted to certain officers. She was therefore frustrated that the permanent secretary denied her access to such privileges and other financial requests that cannot be defended,” the source commented.

The source further hinted at possible political manoeuvring, suggesting that the battle might involve the minister himself.

“The minister showed his hands in the way he hurriedly threw the Permanent Secretary under the bus by writing a strongly worded letter to the Head of Service to seek his probe,” the source added.

In response, legal representatives for Ambassador Lamuwa, led by Audu Anuga (SAN), have categorically refuted the allegations.

In a detailed document, they argued that Fajemirokun-Ajayi had misinterpreted the Permanent Secretary’s actions and conversations, portraying them maliciously.

The legal document emphasised, “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.”

Ambassador Lamuwa, recalling an incident at a ministry retreat on October 7, 2023, denied inviting Mrs. Fajemirokun-Ajayi to his room.

He described their interaction as a routine check-in with all participants, ensuring their accommodation arrangements were satisfactory.

The document also addressed a specific conversation about Hong Kong, which Mrs. Fajemirokun-Ajayi interpreted as an invitation.

“Our client wonders how such a conversation became interpreted as an invitation for her to travel alongside himself, knowing full well that she is an aide to the minister. How can she leave the minister to follow the permanent secretary on a vacation? Would that not be the height of delusion for the one requesting and the one heeding the request?” the document stated.

The legal team suggested that the allegations were linked to Mrs. Fajemirokun-Ajayi’s requests for financial reimbursements and access to sensitive documents, which Ambassador Lamuwa denied based on civil service protocols.

In his 32 years of service, Ambassador Lamuwa, according to a PR Nigeria report of Wednesday, June 12, 2024, maintained an unblemished record, having served in various capacities, including postings in Hong Kong, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Senegal, as well as roles within the State House.

As the investigation unfolds, the Ministry and its officials face intense scrutiny over these serious allegations and the internal dynamics that may have influenced them.

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