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It’s Shocking Rights Groups Aren’t Protesting Against ‘Women Hating’ Minister, Isa Patami—HURIWA

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Maureen Okpe

The Human Rights Writes Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has expressed disappointment on a strong allegation of discriminatory conduct against the Presidential Adviser on Diaspora affairs Mrs. Abike Dabiri Erewa against the serving Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Dr. Isa Patami stating,no Women human rights organizations are yet to condemn this atrocious tendency .

HURIWA said it has watched with consternation the swirling confrontations between Nigeria’s communication and digital economy minister Isa Pantami and chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) Abike Dabiri-Erewa, much of which centred around the fight over an office space and yet neither President Muhammadu Buhari nor the numerous registered coalitions of Gender Rights campaigners have deemed it appropriate to take any legitimate mass action to protest this strong case of Gender discrimination.

According to the civil rights group it is a violation of section 42 of the Nigerian constitution which absolutely prohibits discriminatory practices,adding that none of the Women gender groups call for investigations of the allegations because it is insensitive and irresponsible to allow someone with the faintest hatred of the Women gender to exercise any kind of governmental authority that is funded by the Nigerian tax payers.

A statement signed by the Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko the national coordinator for HURIWA said “Infact allowing a person without the greatest respect for all genders to remain in office is to encourage lawlessness and anarchy.”

“Specifically section 42 of the Nigerian constitution provides thus “ (1) A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person:- (a) be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions are not made subject.

“Or (b) be accorded either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any such executive or administrative action, any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions.

“(2) No citizen of Nigeria shall be subjected to any disability or deprivation merely by reason of the circumstances of his birth. (3) Nothing in subsection (1) of this section shall invalidate any law by reason only that the law imposes restrictions with respect to the appointment of any person to any office under the State or as a member of the armed forces of the Federation or member of the Nigeria Police Forces or to an office in the service of a body, corporate established directly by any law in force in Nigeria.”

Onwubiko stated that the disgraceful and odious discord between both government officials became public after NiDCOM published a video in February on its Twitter and accused Pantami of masterminding the eviction of its staff from office space at the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) building in Abuja just as it will be recalled that NCC is under the control of the ministry Pantami heads.

The statement also recalled that the confrontation between the duo escalated when Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa doubled down on that claim in an interview with the Nigerian government-owned Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). The interview was aired on Friday and was later published on NTA’s YouTube channel even as the minister Alhaji Isa Pantami said on Twitter on Sunday that he was not responsible for the eviction, claiming that the media reports did not tell ‘a true story.’

Although the tweet has since been deleted.
HURIWA recalled that Mrs Abike DABIRI Erewa alleged as follows: ‘An Islamic scholar should not lie Hon Minister. 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 equipment. Public office is transient. Tell us where you locked up our equipment and release them.. After the lockdown, we will settle for some options we already have.’

The group further disclosed that the alleged missing properties, NiDCOM spokesman Abdur-Rahman Balogun said, include two units of single face data ports, 24 port patch panel, Mikrotik RB 750G router, Mikrotik cloud router switch, two Headsets with microphones, two Digital PABX, 4u Server racks, Patch cables, HP desk jet 1012 all in one printer, files and documents.

“HURIWA however condemns the indiscretion and display of overbearing power as demonstrated by the fact of chasing out the Nigerian Diaspora office from the NCC complex which is also a publicly owned assets, adding that the property of the office confiscated by the minister of Communication and Digital Economy if true should be released forthwith with profound apologies to Abike Dabiri Erewa and the Nigerian Public.

Stating further, “although the Communications and Digital Economy Minister dismissed the claims of Mrs. Abike Dabiri Erewa as ‘a big fat lie’, the group said it was even shocking that there is now a heightened state of apathy on the part of the organised civil Rights community in Nigeria with specific reference to the Gender Rights Advocacy Campaigners.

“for these usually vociferous group of activists to be so unconcerned that such a serious and grave threat against Womanhood was made against a serving minister and till now for over three days there is no sign of any strong protests or petition to President Muhammadu Buhari to act to bring this shameful episode to a rational end by investigating the angle of the Gender discriminatory tendencies or otherwise of his minister for communication and Digital Economy Alhaji Isa Patami who is considered an Islamic scholar of record.

“These same groups would have protested over mundane and non substantial matter but this one which touches the core of human rights protection and the mainstreaming of Gender equality in the governance structure of Nigeria, they have suddenly become deaf and dumb.

“If the Federal Ministry of women Development has not become dysfunctional and comatose this sort of allegations would have attracted their attention but now that ministry is moribund and is just a place for giving jobs to the political supporters of Mr. President and nothing more.

HURIWA has therefore called on the President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the serious allegation of discriminatory conduct against Women gender as made by the Chairperson of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission against the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy and if found guilty he the minister should be sacked from office.

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