Olusegun Aganga, Nigeria’s Minister of Trade and Investment
The Honourable Minister for Trade and Investment,
Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment,
Old Federal Secretariat,
THE INTIMIDATION, HUMILIATION AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF MRS ABIMBOLA PATRICIA YAKUBU
We are solicitors to Mrs. Abimbola Patricia Yakubu who we shall hereinafter call ‘’our client’’ and it is upon her instructions we write you this petition.
The attached letter dated 3rd July 2013 with the subject, ‘’Plea for reconsideration of my transfer’’, and written by Mrs Abimbola Patricia Yakubu speaks for itself.
As a professional and independent group of lawyers committed to the promotion and enforcement of rights, including those of vulnerable and minority groups, deepening of democracy and governance and the expansion of public interest law, we are concerned about the following personal and public interest issues raised by our client in her letter addressed to Hajia Ladi Ibrahim, Chairperson, Governing Board of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria:
a. The inappropriate language of Mr. Jim Osayande Obazee, Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria.
We note that inappropriate language deployed by the said Mr. Obazee sought to dehumanise our client.
b. The inhuman and unfriendly working condition under which our client worked for the said Mr. Obazee.
Note that the practice of keeping a married woman with young kids beyond the official working hours stipulated by the Civil Service Rules is unethical and an abuse of our client’s rights as guaranteed by Section 34 (1) (a), (b) and (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
c. The purported transfer of our client vide the letter of transfer dated Friday 24th May, 2013, effected without recourse to laid down Civil Service Rules, practice and procedure.
Further, we note that the purported transfer of our client, a gross abuse of rules, indubitably amounts to constructive dismissal. The attached letter indicates that our client reports to a very junior officer at the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria’s desk at the Corporate Affairs Commission, Kaduna.
d. The sexual harassment of our client.
Sir, issues (a) to (d) we have raised above are grave. We humbly request a formal but thorough ministerial investigation of our complaint against Mr. Jim Osayande Obazee. And whilst we also urge that disciplinary measures be exercised where appropriate, we humbly request that the purported transfer of our client be rescinded pending the completion of investigation.
Please, accept the assurances of our warmest and highest regards whilst thanking you on behalf of our client, Sir.
Abdul Mahmud, ESQ.
1. National Human Rights Commission,
2. Human Rights Committee
House of Representatives,
3. Head of Service of the Federation,
July 03, 2013
Hajia Mariam Ladi Ibrahim
Governing Board of Financial Reporting Council,
PLEA FOR RECONSIDERATION OF MY TRANSFER
My name is Abimbola Patricia Yakubu (Mrs.) a staff of Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria on GL 12. A mother of three children, all under the age of eleven (11) years. I have worked in the Administrative Department and the Library Unit of the Organization at different times until the year 2010 when I was redeployed to the Executive Office as Executive Office Manager under the leadership of the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Jim Osayande Obazee.
I had a close working relationship with him as a Personal Assistant and as an Executive Office Manager to the best of my ability. For the period of years that I worked with him, I have always been closing as late as 10pm and sometimes beyond. I have been very loyal, committed and dedicated to duty. I have never for one day shown any sign of insubordination.
Early this year, I noticed the Executive Secretary’s attitude changed towards me. I met with him on several occasions, asking him what I have done wrong but he would not say anything rather, he would yell and scream at me saying all manner of unprintable words like: “when I am done with you, you will cry”; “when I am done with you, you will hang yourself”.
So I withdrew and kept to myself. He continued in this attitude towards me, not relating with me and giving my subordinates my job to do (the things I should be doing). When eventually he yielded to pressure from people to say what I have done wrong, the following are the things he said I did:
Ø Sometimes in February that he traveled to Abuja and his driver, Mr. John Sambo was not at the airport to pick him. The blame was pushed to me. I did my job by notifying the driver on Sunday night, which was the night before he travelled. As usual I was expecting the driver to be on duty since he did not take permission from me to be away from station. But unfortunately when I called him on Sunday, he said he was in Nassarawa for the weekend. At least, he ought to be at work the next morning, so I instructed him to be at the airport early enough to pick the ES.
Ø He alleged that my husband sent a threat text to him.
Ø That I did not remind him of the Council ex chairman’s daughter’s wedding and another programme he was to send a representative to. Even though the representative, Mr. Osawe still made the programme.
Ø That I once called my children telling them not to disturb their Daddy when we travelled together. This has been a key point he stressed upon so much.
These are mere excuses because he had already given my work to my subordinates and have made me redundant coupled with the psychological and emotional pains I was going through from all the threats he’s been threatening me with. All of these have been on since the beginning of this year 2013. Sometimes in April, I wrote to request for a 5 day casual leave from 25days out of my 30 days annual leave to travel and attend to a family commitment outside the country. But, he bluntly turned down my request. I had to lose the ticket for the trip even though I showed it to him.
Thinking that was enough punishment and with no other event happening in between, to my greatest surprise, I was called by the HR manager on Friday 24th of May, to receive a letter of transfer to Kaduna State, where we do not have a functional office, but a liaison desk at the Corporate Affairs Commission. And that I, a level 12 officer should be reporting to a level 10 officer. I still did not show any sign of reaction but rather, I complied.
However, I need to state here that, he has been making sexual advances at me since the inception of the office, and I’ve always stood my ground that I fear God and I have no reason why I should do this against my husband, because I love him. Moreso, he is a Pastor in The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).
We have had very close working relationship together which actually gave room for the sexual demands. I close very late at night as a civil servant, not because we really have much work to do, but that’s when he finds it most convenient to talk to me about his love for me. He makes sure everyone has closed and we are left alone in the office to make his demands.
I am grateful to God for the kind of husband I married who is very understanding. Besides, there is no sexual move or plea he made that I did not tell my husband, from the very beginning of the advances. So, my husband is very much aware of the goings on but, he trusts me.
Even when I told the Executive Secretary that my husband is aware of his moves he tells me it is not true, that there is no man who will allow his wife go through such since all men are jealous. He then warned me sternly not to ever mention goings on the office with my husband.
We have had to travel around the country together to places like, Calabar, Uyo, Enugu, Ibadan, Ijebu-Ode, Abuja and Minna. These were occasions he would have had his way had God not helped me, if I had not been determined to stand firm and if my husband was not solidly behind me.
All of the time when we ought to retire back to our hotel rooms he would call me to either come to his room if we are in the same hotel or he would call to tell me he was coming to my room. Other times when we stay in different hotels, like when we are in Abuja, he would call me sometimes very late at night to tell me he was on his way to my hotel. November 2012 is an example.
He called me very late at night while we were in Abuja that he was coming to my hotel room. I immediately called my husband who was out of the country at that time to notify him and he said I should be tightly dressed and safe guard myself. I use an MTN line; I believe if the authority would demand to get the voice data from MTN or even ask for the call log, my points here can be verified.
He has asked me on several occasions to leave my husband and marry him that his marriage was an error and he is absolutely sure I was meant to be his wife, but that he hurriedly got married to the woman he is with right now because of pressure from office in his early days in NASB to have a wife of wont be allowed to go on any international trip.
He has told me how him and his wife are two different people that is the reason why he does not go back home early from work, but that if he marries me, he would be closing by 4pm and we would have as much as 10 children as against the two he has from his wife; and that the gap between the two children is wide because he does not have time for her. Then, I have always advised him on this and told him countless times that if he can go back home and rechanneled all the love he said he has for me on his wife his marriage would work better.
He had asked that I run along with him to America and we both get married there and that he would establish me, and I told him that can only work out if he was willing to marry me, my husband, my three kids and all my dependants. He never liked it when I bring my husband into our discussion that’s why he asked me to stop picking his calls while at work.
On some occasions also, he has asked me not to call him ‘Oga’ anymore but to call him Jim and I would refuse. I had to keep telling him not to treat me differentially but to treat me like any other staff. “Don’t spoil me sir” I would tell him. “you are my oga and I will always treat you so”.
A few text messages I still have on my phone will show the close working relationship we had.
I strongly believe my persistent refusal to his sexual demands is the real reason for this OPPRESSION, MALICIOUS ATTITUDE, HUMILIATION and INTIMIDATION.
In addition to all these, in spite of the fact that I have not in any way objected to all his harassment and oppression in the office, I accepted to obey and accept the transfer in good faith. Yet, few days after I resumed in Kaduna, I got a memo asking me to report through a GL8 officer on ground to a GL10 officer and that on no account should I leave my post without clarifying from him who should receive directives from the Executive Secretary directly. (Memo attached).
I just want to state here clearly that this is a manifest evidence of a personal molestation or vendetta. Before I left Lagos for Kaduna I went to see the GL10 officer he said I should report to, to get some guide lines as to what the job entails, asking her to put me through. He sent for her and asked that I be ordered to leave the office premises immediately and report in Kaduna within 48 hours or face the music. He would not let me have the time to speak with the officer in charge of the department. I saw it all as a way to make me go to work without any tool: like building bricks without straws.
I still accepted to go immediately despite my health condition which is as a result of the trauma I have been through lately in his hands; including the verbal threat I got from him.
However, I have been in Kaduna for four weeks now not working for my salary as there is really nothing to do. I am therefore appealing to you ma to use your good office to return me back to the Lagos office where I can work and serve Nigeria better.
I am however receiving treatment right now in Lagos based on the doctor’s recommendation from Kaduna. I have tendered the doctor’s Excuse Duty Form to my office in Lagos.
I want to please ask ma, that if you deem it fit and necessary, I would like to be present in person to speak for myself should he deny the authenticity of all these my claims.
Thank you so very much ma. We see in you more than a chairperson but a Mother and a Voice of Hope.
A. P. Yakubu (Mrs.)