Abike Dabiri and Dr Isa Pantami
Abike Dabiri and Dr Isa Pantami

Abike Dabiri blasts Pantami, says your disrespect for women is legendary

NEWS DIGEST – Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami and Chief Executive Officer of NIDCOM, Hon. Dabiri Erewa are currently locked in a verbal ‘war’ on Twitter over alleged molestation, News Digest can report.

It was gathered that Sahara Reporters had done a story and also circulated a video on how Pantami locked out staff of the Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) from a building meant to serve as the new office of the commission.

The incident which took place in February, has resurfaced on social media with Dabiri accusing Pantami of disrespect which he denied.

“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 Left the ugly incident behind me since Feb. But pls release all our office eguipment.Public office is transient [email protected]” Hon. Abike said, in reply to the denial of Dr Isa Ali Pantami on ordering NIDCOM staff out of the disputed building.

Earlier, Dr Isa Pantami had posted:

“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” he said in defense that he ordered gunmen to send away staffs of the Commission from the building.

Dabiri-Erewa also called for release of equipments of the commission which she alleged has been seized by the Minister.

Video seen by this Newspaper showed staff of NIDCOM being asked to return home by a yet to be identified person, while urging for calm.

Meanwhile, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has said that the Diaspora Commission was not sent packing from Digital Economy Complex.

According to a statement issued by Nkemadu, “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 (NDC) was 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.”

The statement further added that, “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 to utilise any free offices within the Complex.

“The fifth floor allocated to NDC had to be used to accommodate other departments from the NCC Headquarters to ease the congestion. NCC’s offer to house the NDC 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.

“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 Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMC&DE):

“The projects include the launching and unveiling of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025; the commissioning of the Communications and Digital Economy Complex; the launching of the Emergency Communications Centre and Toll-Free number 112; and 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 of 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 NDC, 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 NDC 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.”