A war of words has ensued between the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali-Pantami, and the Director-General of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, NIDCOM, Abike Dabiri-Erewa over an alleged sealing-off of the Digital Economy Complex, a temporary building housing the offices of the commission.
Recall that Mrs Dabiri-Erewa had accused the minister of ordering security operatives to chase out her staff out of their borrowed offices on the 5th floor of the Complex.
However, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, had since refuted the claim, saying that the building was undergoing security clearance as only known and identifiable persons are allowed to have access within the Complex.
The NCC’s Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, in a statement on Sunday stated that Mr Pantami could not have sent armed men to drive the staff of the commission out of the Complex.
“At this time, only NCC Staff were accredited to have access within this premises as required by the security officials,” the statement noted.
“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 an understanding of all concerned,” Mr Nkemadu added.
Reacting to Mrs Dabiri-Erewa’s allegations via his Twitter handle on Sunday, Mr Pantami said: “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 twitter.com/SaharaReporter…”
In a swift reaction, the NIDCOM boss claimed that the minister did what he did to her because she was a women, warning that “an Islamic scholar [like him] should not lie”.
She wrote: “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.”