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Monday, July 15, 2024

My insistence on financial propriety led to Fajemirokun-Ajayi’s accusations – Foreign Affairs Perm Sec

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The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Adamu Ibrahim Lamuwa has responded to allegations of sexual harassment by an aide to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Simisola O. Fajemirokun-Ajayi.

In a response provided by sources close to his legal representative, and seen by our correspondent, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry denied having made any sexual advances at the Ministerial aide, stating that his insistence on financial prudence and due process led to his friction with Mrs Fajemirokun-Ajayi.

“We wish to state categorically that our client has never made any sexual advances towards Mrs. Simisola O. Fajemirokun-Ajayi, who he is aware is a married woman, neither has he ever made suggestive comments or innuendos that requested any form of untoward relationship between himself and her,” a part of the statement read.

It further explained that the Permanent Secretary’s jocular remarks and ordinary conversations with the petitioner were misinterpreted by the aide.

“Our client distinctly recalls the events that took place at the Ministry’s Retreat on October 7th 2023 where Mrs Simisola O. Fajemirokun-Ajayi claims that he invited her to his room. Our client states categorically that, he never made such an invitation and that his only communication with Mrs Fajemirokun-Ajayi, which was an overt one, was where he checked on her, like he did to all participants on whether they had been well-lodged in their hotels.

“He further recalls that the instance where he spoke of her as a nursing mother, during the same retreat was in a colloquial conversation they were having with other participants, where one participant even responded jokingly that when a woman says “her baby” it could mean either her husband or one of her children, of which he innocuously joked asking “how big is the baby?” Our client maintains that those conversations were made jokingly and sees their misinterpretation as malicious and with ill-intent,” the statement noted.

Denying that Ambassador Lamuwa requested the Minister’s aide to travel with him to Hong Kong, the legal representative described the insinuation that such a request was made as absurd.

“Our client also maintains that it is an absurdity for Mrs. Fajemirokun-Ajayi to claim that he invited her to Hong Kong, given that the conversation they were both having was on how Honk Kong had digitised its work processes as far back as 1999.

“Our client wonders how such a conversation became interpreted as an invitation for her to travel alongside himself knowing fully well that she is an aide to the Minister. How can she possibly leave the Minister to follow the Permanent Secretary, on a vacation? Would that not be the height of delusion for the one requesting, as well as the one heeding to the request?”

The statement further stated that the Mrs. Fajemirokun-Ajayi had misinterpreted the ordinary conversations they had in public, and that this was tied to the Permanent Secretary’s “objections raised regarding improper requests” from the Minister’s aide.

“It is clear that the Minister’s aide has misinterpreted ordinary conversations, made openly and in the presence of other participants, for untoward intentions. We believe that these allegations are directly tied to our client’s firm objections raised regarding improper requests that Mrs Fajemirokun-Ajayi made, particularly to financial matters in the Ministry.

“For example, Mrs. Fajemirokun-Ajayi made a trip to the World Economic Forum (Davos), of which she sought a reimbursement from the Ministry for. Our client firmly explained to her that while the Ministry may look at avenues to refund her expenses, it is not the appropriate process for a trip to be made without an approval, and then funded with taxpayers money after the fact.”

The statement went further to accuse Mrs. Fajemirokun-Ajayi of being unfamiliar with Civil Service Rules and processes, as she had requested for access to certain documents that were too sensitive for her clearance level as a political appointee.

“Further to this, is the fact of Mrs Fajemirokun-Ajayi’s unfamiliarity with Civil Service rules and processes where she had requested from our client access to Policy Files and even Financial Records of high-level activities of the Ministry.

“By no means, should the Permanent Secretary, as chief accounting officer of the Ministry provide such sensitive documents to an aide of the Minister, worse via a WhatsApp chat. There are due processes in government, and they must be followed.

“We must emphasise that Mrs Fajemirokun-Ajayi is a political appointee, and not a civil servant. Thus, matters of finance and policy are out of bounds for her in this instance.

“All these, seem to have angered Mrs Simisola O. Fajemirokun-Ajayi, so much that she has taken her offence to the level of concocting stories in order to tarnish our client’s image and character.”

Ambassador Adamu Lamuwa’s legal representative stated that he has served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for over three decades, and has never received a query or report bothering on issues of harassment throughout the period; further stating that the Ambassador is confident of being vindicated.

It would be recalled that Mrs. Fajemirokun-Ajayi, an aide to the Minister of Foreign Affairs had in a petition through her lawyers accused Ambassador Ibrahim Lamuwa of conducts of sexual harassment at her place of work, as well as abuse of office and intimidation.

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