SWITZERLAND, MAY 25 – The Chairperson of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission(NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri and the Minister of Communications, Isa Patanmi are engaged in a dramatic war of words that has spilled over into the social media over allegations that the National Communications Commission(NCC) under Patanmi’s supervision had evicted NIDCOM from its building.
Mrs Dabiri in a recent interview had claimed that the Minister denied her agency an office space given to the Diaspora Commission by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC). According to Dabiri, the Minister had sent armed men to drive away her staff from the building.
Today’s Echo gathers that Patami on Sunday reacted to Dabiri’s accusation on Twitter, saying that her claim is a “lie”
“THIS IS A FAT LIE FROM HER: The owner of the building @NgComCommission has faulted her lies on their social media platforms. The minister has never given that directives to any gunman. We need to be very objective in reporting. I have never sent any gunmen there, and I have no one.”
In what appears to be a full blown row, Dabiri responded with her own salvo.
“An Islamic scholar should not lie Hon Minister. ( PhD😂😂). You did that to me cos I am a woman. Your disrespect for women is legendary. Left the ugly incident behind me since Feb. But please release all our office equipment. Public office is transient.”
Dabiri then posted a video, purportedly showing the Secretary of the commission addressing NIDCOM staff gathered at the lobby after being allegedly evicted by the NCC on the Minister’s orders.
“To refresh you Sir. Despite your denial.The Sec of the Commission seeking for calm .after Staff resumed for work and denied access to the 5th floor office of Nidcom.. Based on your instruction . Turned back by armed men. Haba!!!!” Dabiri fumed.
The NCC later released a statement, claiming that it did not evict NIDCOM staff.
See full NCC statement below:
“The attention of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has been drawn to a video making the rounds on social media alleging that the Nigeria Diaspora Commission was ignominiously thrown out of the NCC building. It is therefore important that the general public is acquiesced with what really transpired with regard to the incident leading to the evacuation of the Diaspora Commission from the NCC building.
“Following the completion of the NCC building at Mbora, Abuja designated as NCC Annex and the acute shortage of accommodation space for the staff of the Commission in the NCC Head Office at Maitama, Abuja, the Board of the Commission directed the decongestion of the Head Office Building. Some of the Departments of the NCC had started moving to the new Office Complex of Five (5) Floors when discussions were held between the NCC and the Diaspora Commission to enable the Diaspora Commission also utilize any free Offices within the Complex.
“The fifth floor allocated to them had to be used to accommodate other Departments from the NCC Headquarters to ease the congestion. NCC’s offer to house the Nigeria Diaspora Commission was predicated on the long held position of the NCC that agencies of Government will achieve more through strategic collaboration, partnership, synergy and sharing to the extent allowed by relevant laws.
“During this period, the NCC secured approval for the Commissioning of the Office Complex by the President, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari and the launching of four important projects of the NCC and the renamed Ministry of Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMC&DE):
- Launching and unveiling of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020 – 2025;
- Commissioning of the Communications and Digital Economy Complex;
- Launching of the Emergency Communications Centre and Toll-Free number 112; and
- Flag off of the Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training
These important projects were a culmination of extensive collaboration between NCC and the other Parastatals of the FMC&DE and fittingly the Complex was renamed the COMMUNICATIONS AND DIGITAL ECONOMY COMPLEX in tandem with the new drive of the Federal Government towards a digital economy.
“The NCC has not withdrawn the offer but had hiccups arising from the preparation for the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to inaugurate the Communications and Digital Economy Complex and launch other projects relating to the mandate of government. The Board and Management of the NCC took a decision to ensure that every activity in the building was in line with the Federal Government’s digital agenda.”Incidentally, after the offer of the office spaces to the Diaspora Commission, the Director General, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa had not visited the Complex to take possession of any of the offices and also the Commission had not started using any of these spaces as offices.”
As is usual in ensuring security and accountability before, during and after presidential visits, the building had to be cleared to allow for only known and identifiable persons to have access within the Complex. Therefore the Honourable Minister of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami could not have sent armed men to drive the staff of the Diaspora Commission out of the Communications and Digital Economy Complex.”
At this time, only NCC Staff were accredited to have access within this premises as required by the security officials. All the properties belonging to the Diaspora Commission are safely warehoused in some of the Offices in the Complex. This is contrary to the position of the Director General of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa that the removal of her Commission from the building was punitive. This is not the correct position and we agree with her that there are always challenges in every human activity but the unforeseen challenges that arose in this case are not different but require understanding of all concerned.