NCC, Diaspora Commission fight over office space
All is not well between the Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, and the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, NiDCOM, over alleged forceful eviction of the latter by the former from its office complex in Abuja.
Trouble started when the supervising minister of the NCC, Minister of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, ordered the NiDCOM out the NCC Annex office in the Jabi area of Abuja within one week.
However, Mr. Abdur-Rahman Balogun, Head, Media and Public Relations Unit NIDCOM, alleged that before the expiration of the ultimatum, armed policemen on the orders of the minister sealed off the offices, and confiscated property of the Diaspora Commission in 48 hours.
“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,” Balogun said.
“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.”
According to the NiDCOM media head, though the staff of the commission were assured of the safety of their official and personal stuff, months after they were yet to get hold of office and personal equipment running into millions.
“Unfortunately, on Friday 14th February after the Chairman returned from Ethiopia a day before , she visited the complex to shockingly find that offices were broken into and all items including the 140 work stations, personal computers, printers, sensitive documents and personal belongings of staff were carted away.”
He listed some of the items yet unaccounted for to include: Two units of single face data ports, 24 port patch panel, 1 Mikrotik RB 750G router, 1 Mikrotik cloud router switch, 2 Digital PABX, 144 Work stations & 144 Swivel office chairs and legal department files and documents, accounts department files and documents and secretary to the commission's office entire files and documents.
Others include, Canon 700 digital camera, Xenon laptop, staff personal belonging such as printers, UPS, extension cables, stationeries (cartons of Chamex papers, staplers, pins, notice board) files & documents & toiletries etc. and 140 work stations.
Balogun further stated that “an agency of government ought not to be shabbily treated in a dehumanising manner,” and commended “the Chairman/CEO of NIDCOM, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who despite all these was determined to ensure that the work of the Commission did not suffer in any way through her doggedness and dynamism.”
But the NCC in an earlier statement by Dr. Henry Nkemadu, its director, public affairs, dismissed the NiDCOM claims, denying that the “Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) was ignominiously thrown out of the NCC building.”
Incidentally, after the offer of the office spaces to the Diaspora Commission, the Nkemadu said the NiDCOM 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.
“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.”
He stated that “the properties belonging to the Diaspora Commission are safely warehoused in some of the Offices in the Complex.”