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NCC Backs Dr. Isa Pantami With Press Statement, Refutes Abike Dabiri’s Claims Of NIDCOMM Harrassment In Office Dispute 

by on May 24, 2020
 

A big dissention has recently erupted, renewing tensions between the Chairman of the Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NIDCOMM) Abike Dabiri- Erewa , and Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy in Nigeria.

Mrs. Dabiri in an interview recently claimed that Dr. Pantami organized a forced evacuation of NIDCOMM’s office in February. According to Dabiri, the office, which is located in the Nigeria Communications Commissions building was cleared out only two days after NIDCOMM moved in.

She claimed that NIDCOMM has been without an office ever since, stating in the viral interview that office equipment, including laptops and printers were further locked up.

In response, Dr. Pantami vehemently denied the accusations, placing special emphasis on denying the claim that NIDCOMM was manhandled by armed men.

“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, & I have no one…”, Dr. Pantami stated.

Furthermore, Mrs. Dabiri’s claims were rendered increasingly vague by NCC’s response in a press release signed by Dr. Henry Nkemadu —Director, Public Affairs — insisting that NIDCOMM was in no way hustled from the building, neither were they thrown out as earlier reported.

Part of the statement reads:
“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.

“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.

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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”,  the statement read.

The Nigeria Communications Commission further denied the alleged “armed men” accusations, saying:

“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”.
(Full Details Of NCC’S Press Statement Below)

Furthermore, NCC revealed that Mrs. Dabiri had in fact not visited the office complex to take charge, neither had NIDCOMM began any official use of the offices.

“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”, the statement reads. 

NIDCOMM swiftly responded to NCC’s press statement by posting a video showing NIDCOMM’s secretary Dr. Bassi addressing staff after said evacuation.

The post’s headline states:
“The Secretary of NiDCOM, Dr. Bassi addressing the staff of the Commission shortly after being locked out of their office on the order of the Minister @DrIsaPantami on the 11th of February, 2020.
Notice of evacuation was given via a text message on the 9th of February, 2020″

Additionally, Dabiri a few hours ago responded to Pantami’s assertions on the falsehood of her story, saying that Dr. Pantami has had a reputation for disrespect of the female gender.

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“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”, she said.

“(I) Left the ugly incident behind me since February. But please release all our office equipment.Public office is transient”, she continued.

However, there were no armed officials as Dabiri claimed in a recent interview with Sahara Reporters.

PRESS STATEMENT AS ISSUED BY NCC

———Diaspora Commission not sent packing from Digital Economy Complex, says NCC

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.

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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):

1.        Launching and unveiling of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020 – 2025;

2.        Commissioning of the Communications and Digital Economy Complex;

3.        Launching of the Emergency Communications Centre and Toll-Free number 112; and

4.        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.

SIGNED:

Dr. Henry Nkemadu

Director, Public Affairs

Nigerian Communications Commission

24 May 2020

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