Outrage as Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Ministry Perm Sec is accused of sexual harassment

Outrage as Nigeria's Foreign Affairs Ministry Perm Sec is accused of sexual harassment
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar / permanent secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Lamuwa
Outrage as nigeria's foreign affairs ministry perm sec is accused of sexual harassment
Minister of foreign affairs, yusuf tuggar / permanent secretary at the ministry of foreign affairs, ibrahim lamuwa

The Permanent Secretary of Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa, has been suspended over allegations of sexual harassment. The case has sparked widespread outrage and raised questions about the ministry’s handling of such incidents. This article delves into the details of the allegations, the minister’s memo to the Head of Service, and the potential fallout for Nigeria’s image.

Initial Sexual Harassment Accusations

The allegations against Lamuwa began with a formal complaint filed by Mrs. Simisola Fajemirokun Ajayi, a married employee of the ministry. She accused the Permanent Secretary of sexual harassment, including instances where he allegedly molested her and demanded hugs from her. Ajayi’s lawyers claimed that Lamuwa had a history of harassment, which the minister had previously intervened to stop, but he resumed his behavior in May, creating a hostile work environment.

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Ajayi’s petition alleged that Lamuwa’s behavior was persistent and troubling, causing her to be apprehensive about her safety in the workplace. She claimed that he made inappropriate remarks and advances to her on different occasions.

The petition also accused Lamuwa of abusing his office by using his position to intimidate and discriminate against Ajayi and other female staff members.

Lamuwa’s defence and accusation: Lamuwa denied the allegations but counter-accused Ajayi of making “malicious claims” triggered by his rejection of her “improper requests” about the ministry’s finances. He claimed that she asked for access to policy files and financial records, which he deemed out of her bounds as a political appointee.

New Sexual Harassment Accusations

Since the initial allegations, more women have come forward with similar claims. Female directors and foreign service officers have alleged that Lamuwa harassed them, threatened them, and removed them from trips and postings when they refused his advances. These new accusations paint a disturbing picture of a culture of sexual harassment and abuse within the ministry.

Minister’s Memo to the Head of Service

In response to the allegations, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, wrote a memo to the Head of Service, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, detailing the allegations and requesting disciplinary action against Lamuwa. The memo, dated May 27, 2024, emphasized the gravity of the situation and asked that the Head of Service handle the matter accordingly.

Labour brings uo more allegations

The controversies and series of serious allegations surrounding the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ibrahim Lamuwa over sexual harassment, have taken a different dimension. The Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), the labour union in the Ministry, is also up in arms against him over an accusation of high-handedness, maladministration, favouritism and financial improprieties, which have significantly affected the welfare and rights of the workers.


The union listed and explained in detail the series of benefits that the workers were entitled to that Ambassador Lamuwa has been denying them for months.

They accused him of unduly and illegally favouring a certain category of people and victimising those who do not dance to his tunes, in the area of posting, training and other benefits like Hajj seats.

Some of his alleged crimes against the labour union as listed in the petition include delay in payment of some benefits, delay in promotion and conversion of staff, lack of transparency in posting exercise, delay in paying of clothing allowance, discrimination in paying First 28 Days Allowance, lack of fairness in the distribution of the 2024 Hajj seats, inadequate posting of Batch B officers to foreign missions, poor sanitation and hygiene due to insufficient water supply, lack of work tools, dilapidated office buildings, refusal to pay the 25th regular course allowance for nine months among others.

In the petition signed by JNC Chairman, Comrade Ali Seidu, and Assistant General Secretary, Comrade Akpana S.E, the union urged the Minister to look into their grievances and address the series of injustice allegedly done by the Permanent Secretary to avoid a drastic action by the workers.

Possible Fallout

The suspension of Lamuwa and the ongoing investigation have significant implications for the ministry and Nigeria’s image. The case highlights the need for stronger measures to prevent and address sexual harassment in the workplace. If the allegations are proven, Lamuwa’s actions could lead to dismissal, which would serve as a deterrent to others. However, the incident also raises questions about the ministry’s handling of such incidents in the past and whether there were any attempts to cover up the allegations.

Implications on Nigeria’s Image

The sexual harassment allegations against Lamuwa have already drawn international attention, casting a shadow over Nigeria’s reputation. The incident has the potential to damage Nigeria’s image as a country committed to protecting its citizens and upholding human rights. The government must take swift and decisive action to address the allegations and ensure that those responsible are held accountable.

Finally, the sexual harassment allegations against Ambassador Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa, the Permanent Secretary of Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are a stark reminder of the need for stronger measures to prevent and address such incidents. The government must take immediate action to address the allegations and ensure that those responsible are held accountable. Failure to do so could have serious implications for Nigeria’s image and reputation on the international stage.