Pantami used armed officers to evict our staff, Abike Dabiri alleges

•No, the minister didn't ― NCC

The chairman, Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has alleged that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami used armed security men to eject NIDCOM from the offices which they occupied in the NCC building located at Mbora District, on the Airport Road, Jabi, Abuja.

She said over 40 office equipment, workstations and files belonging to NIDCOM staff were still locked up at the Nigeria Communications Commission building, four months after the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami allegedly ordered NIDCOM to be evicted.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) spokesman, Dr Henry Nkemadu, said the minister could not have ordered the eviction of the commission’s staff.

He said the NCC had not withdrawn the offer for the commission to use a space in its complex.

“The fifth floor allocated to NIDCOM had to be used to accommodate other departments from the NCC headquarters to ease congestion.

“The NCC has not withdrawn the offer but had hiccups arising from the preparation for the visit of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) to inaugurate the building other projects relating to the mandate of government.”

Reacting, NIDCOM in a statement, by its spokesman, Abdulrahman Balogun, dismissed the NCC claims, noting that over 40 office equipment belonging to its staff were carted away from the NCC building shortly after it was evicted.

According to NIDCOM, the missing items, it said, include two units of single face data ports; 24 port patch panel; Mikrotik RB 750G router; Mikrotik cloud router switch; two Headsets with microphones; two Digital PABX; 4u Server racks; Patch cables; HP desk jet 1012 all in one printer, files and documents.

Dabiri-Erewa said that she had complained officially about the ill-treatment by the minister

She said that the NCC duly offered its annexe office at one of the meetings held with the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta at Maitama, Abuja, in June 2019.

She explained that subsequently, directives were said to have been given to the Director of Human Resources, Mrs Maryam Bayi who liaised with NIDCOM staff and delivered the building to the commission.

Dabiri-Erewa said, “the office we got, given to us by NCC, we were actually driven away by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami. Within two days, he drove us with guns.

“The place was given to us by NCC, we all help each other. The NCC said there is a place we can settle in and just as we settled in; I was in Ethiopia when I got a call. I came back from Ethiopia on a Thursday, this happened on Tuesday, by Friday, when I went to the office, there were guns, armed men had taken over the place, I thought it was a joke.

“I am a government employee, so is he (Pantami). It’s government business. Do I go on the street and start fighting him? So, I said I would take the higher ground. I decided that I’m not going to raise any dust about it. I have written to the appropriate authorities, I have complained officially”, she said.

She said the NIDCOM was facing office accommodation challenge. She noted that the fifth-floor offices in the NCC building from where the commission was evicted are still vacant.

“That place is still there, a whole floor is still vacant. As I speak with you, all our items are locked up (in the building). I don’t have computers, I don’t have printers, everything has been locked up.

“After COVID-19, we are hoping we can get a space and these things that were locked up were personal laptops and printers of our very dedicated staff,” she added.

 

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