26th August 2021
The Feminist Womanifesto Group Condemns the Continued Harassment of
Appointed Public Servants, Especially Women
We, the undersigned, of the Feminist Womanifesto Group, condemn in strong terms the
continued harassment of public servants, especially women, who have chosen to serve their
country and have shown commitment to public accountability. Over the last few years, we
have observed a pattern of harassment in the experiences of several women who have
honoured the call to serve.
Arunma Oteh’s challenges during her tenure as the Director General of the Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC) began for daring to change the status quo in her bid to sanitize the market. The House of Representatives passed a resolution directing the then President
Goodluck Jonathan to remove her from office. To assuage the House of Representatives, the
SEC Board asked her to go on compulsory leave and started an investigation conducted by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC). She was reinstated within a month at the conclusion of the
investigation when she was cleared of any wrongdoing. The Board’s decision to ask her to go on compulsory leave was later declared illegal. She finished her term in 2015 having led the
development of a 10-year plan for the capital market that is still being used as a road map.
Similarly, Marilyn Amobi of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) was relieved of her
duties in 2019 following her demands for public accountability in the organization. The myriad
of corruption allegations, including the violation of the Public Procurement Act, leveled against
her by senior management, board members and the House of Representatives were never
proven before her eventual dismissal.
This year, Hadiza Bala-Usman of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) was accused of some
infractions such as awarding contracts without the approval of the supervisory Ministry of
Transportation and refusal to remit VAT deductions. She was first suspended, then her
appointment was terminated. However, Rotimi Amaechi who had accused her of the infractions
did not respond when she made the facts of the matter public.
This month, we have seen Yewande Sadiku, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Investment
Promotion Commission (NIPC) questioned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
(EFCC) in response to a petition on the alleged abuse of power. This follows similar questioning
by the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC)
when both agencies have not taken action to show that Ms Sadiku has a case to answer.
Ms Sadiku’s 5 year tenure at NIPC ends in September 2021 and we find it suspicious that the
ongoing campaign of calumny against her person is an attempt to taint her record of public
accountability. During her tenure, NIPC moved from 90th to 2nd in the Freedom of Information
(FOI) Rankings for compliance and transparency. NIPC’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR)
grew from N296m in 2016 to N3.06bn in 2020, an increase of over 1,000%. From 2016-2020,
over 50% of this revenue was remitted to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal
Government of Nigeria. Ms Sadiku is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Investors’
Protection Fund of the Nigerian Exchange Limited, the second largest securities exchange in
Africa. She is the only member who was appointed on the basis of personal recognition as a
person of integrity.
Ms Sadiku inherited a Commission where its major source of revenue was suspended due to
NIPC’s poor transparency culture. She immediately set out to reform the process to instill
transparency and process efficiency, better articulation of the expected economic benefits, and
improve the Federal Government’s ability to measure the impact of the incentive.
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.
We therefore call on the government and persons of goodwill to stand with Ms Sadiku and end
this campaign of calumny against her by some unscrupulous members of staff of NIPC and board members fueled 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 Ms 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.
We the undersigned are members of the Feminist Womanifesto Group: