The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission has given full details of the events that led to the forceful ejection of its staff from the temporary office accommodation it was using in a building of the Nigeria Communication Commission.
The explanation was offered in a statement by the spokesman of NIDCOM, Abdur-Rahman Balogun.
The statement, which was in reaction to that of the NCC, was accompanied by a video in which a stop staff of the Commission, addressed staff on the development.
Balogun said: “Our attention has been drawn to a statement signed by Dr Henry Nkemadu, Director of Public Affairs of Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) on Sunday May 24, 2020 describing the forcing out of the staff of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) from the occupied fifth floor of NCC Annex Mbora as mere ‘allegation’.
“The fact of the matter is that the said fifth floor was allocated to NIDCOM by NCC Management since June 2019 and handed over by Mrs Maryam Bayi, its Director Human Resources.
“But due to lack of basic facilities in the complex, NIDCOM staff could not move in gradually until October 2019.
“But while our Chairman/CEO Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa was on official assignment with Mr President in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, on the 9th of February, the staff were given one week by the Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Ali Pantami to pack out but within 48 hours of the said quit notice, they were forcefully evicted by security operatives attached to the complex on the orders of the Minister on February 11.
“On the allegation that NIDCOM did not move into the offices when allocated, this is untrue, false accusation and contradictory to the statement of NCC to the effect that NIDCOM properties were warehoused and intact in the annex.
“Please find attached a video recorded on the 11th of February when the Secretary of the Commission was addressing the staff during the shock quit notice.
“The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) offered its annex office located at Mbora District Abuja to NiDCOM. This offer was made at one of the meetings held with the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta at Maitama, Abuja in June 2019.
“Subsequently, directives were given to the Director Human Resources, Mrs Maryam Bayi who liaised with NiDCOM staff and delivered the building to the Commission. Furthermore, as part of its goodwill gesture, NCC then approved and supplied some furniture items to NiDCOM which was received in December, 2019.
“The furniture supplied were similar to those supplied to NCC, so as to fit into the design of the building.
“Meanwhile, NiDCOM upon taking delivery of the building made provision of some furniture, equipment and infrastructure in the building. It proceeded to install workstations for over 140 staff of the Commission which was completed by November, 2019.
“It also went ahead to install a PABX supported International Call centre in conjunction with Airtel Nigeria Ltd. Likewise, since the executive offices were not tiled, ceramic tiles that were already bought were installed the same week the evacuation notice was given. That is, the Commission commenced the installation of high-quality ceramic tiles in the offices of the executive’s officers on the 5th floor which was occupied by the Commission. This went on alongside painting works, general plumbing and fixing of doors handles etc.
“Prior to this, the Department of Technology Transfer & Innovation of the Commission and some staff of Finance department , and administration ,moved into the building at the end of October 2019 while the other departments followed subsequently.
“The executive chairman’s office was also in preparation for her to move by mid-February 2020, . This movement into the building required that several computing and electronic devices as well as many sensitive documents and personal belongings were also moved