Coalition condemn harassment of Hadiza Usman, Yewande Sadiku

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the re-appointment of Hadiza Bala Usman as Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), for additional five-year tenure.

A coalition of 225 feminist non-governmental organisations under the aegis of Feminist Womanifesto Group has said it will not tolerate the harassment of persons, especially women, appointed into public offices in Nigeria.

In its statement by its Convener, Biola Akiode-Afolabi and Executive Director of EiE Nigeria, Yemi Adamolekun yesterday, the coalition said it had observed a pattern of harassment “in the experiences of several women who have honoured the call to serve”.

The coalition listed the suspended Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman; a former Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arunma Oteh; Executive Secretary of Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Yewande Sadiku and a former Managing Director of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) Marilyn Amobi, among women who had been harassed in public offices.

President Muhammadu Buhari approved Bala Usman’s suspension in May, following a recommendation by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.

She was accused of failing to remit the operating surplus of NPA to the consolidated revenue fund (CFR) — an allegation she denied.

In 2013, the House of Representatives asked ex-President Goodluck Jonathan to sack Oteh over allegations of incompetence.

Sadiku was probed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in August over alleged contract fraud while the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman asked Amobi to go on terminal leave in June 2020.

On December 24, 2019, the minister had asked Amobi to step down amid allegations of fraud levelled against her.

On these grounds, the coalition noted that if the pattern “is not curbed, the fallout will be competent women refusing to take high office.

“While there are also examples of men who have been harassed, for women who endure this experience, it is also a form of gender-based violence.

“While there’s no physical violence and less visible marks, workplace abuse has the same root cause and the impact is just as devastating.

“The attacks follow a pattern and if not curbed, the fallout will be competent women refusing to take high office which would be a great loss to the country,” the statement said.

The coalition, therefore, called on the government and persons of goodwill “to stand with Sadiku and end this campaign of calumny against her by some unscrupulous members of staff of NIPC and board members fuelled by misogyny and an evident capacity deficit.

“Her demands for efficiency and transparency are an affront on their collective ineptitude and they are bent on damaging her reputation beyond NIPC.

“Speaking out clearly in Sadiku’s support will send a strong message that this type of behaviour will not be accepted by citizens, especially Nigerian women, who want those committed to our collective good to hold public office in Nigeria.”

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