A brewing tirade between two Frontline Public Officials of the President Muhammodu Buhari administration is giving observers good pimple. The shindig is laced with trappings of domestic battery.
It started on a friendly note, with one providing timely succour to the other. Then it went awry and degenerated to a shouting match.
The principal characters are Dr. Ali Pantami, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy on one hand and Abike Dabiri, Director General of Nigerians In Diaspora Commission, NIDCOMM on the other. The dispute, which is over the use of an office space has left volley of words like ‘lies,’ ‘gunmen,’ and ‘disrespect,’ flying in all directions.
The drama started when Dabiri, a former House of Representatives member and ex staff of the Nigeria Television Authority, NTA alleged that the Minister ordered armed men to evict NIDCOM from an office complex that the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) allocated to it. She claimed the staff were summarily evicted two days after they moved in.
Dabiri-Erewa said her staff were not allowed to evacuate their belongings and many of the commission’s property had been seized. Listed among the seized items were laptops, printers and table tops etc. She emphasized that the commission has been stranded and left without an office since then.
But Pantami denied the allegations.
In swift reaction, the Minister vehemently denied the accusations. He explained that he did not manhandle NIDCOMM staff or anybody for that matter.
“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…”, Dr. Pantami stated.
In addition the NCC in a statement denied the use of gunmen against NIDCOMM staff. It said the refusal to allow them access was sequel to an expected Presidential visit. The statement by the commission’s Director Public Affairs, Henry Nkamadu alleged that although NIDCOMM was offered the use of the office, Dabiri had never visited nor did her staff ever took possession.
As the story went into different bends, Dabiri again put a lie to the denials. She recently posted a video of the stranded staff to show that the group is the underdog in the power play. In the video, NIDCOMM’s secretary Dr. Bassi, is seen addressing staff after the said evacuation on the 11th of February. Notice of evacuation was allegedly given on the 9th of February, 2020.
Dabiri-Erewa, would not budge. She stood her ground and freshly alleged that the Minister treated her in such manner because she is a woman. She noted that Pantami’s chauvinism against women is well known. Hear her.
“An Islamic scholar should not lie. Hon Minister (Phd😂😂). You did that to me because I am a woman. Your disrespect for women is legendary. I left the ugly incident behind me since Feb. But please release all our office equipment. Public office is transient .@DrIsaPantami,” she tweeted.
“@DrIsaPantami. 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!!!!.”
Observers are watching and wondering how matters degenerated to such a low level between people who are supposed to be partners in progress.