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SEX MESS: Abuja VIO boss accused of victimizing staff over refusal of love advances

Posted by By MURPHY GANAGANA, Abuja on 2007/11/26 | Views: 3075 |

SEX MESS: Abuja VIO boss accused of victimizing staff over refusal of love advances


When a seemingly caring neighbour and deputy director in the Federal Capital Territory Administration [FCTA] promised to offer her a job in December last year, 37-year-old Miss Maryam Adebola Marcus thought it was a divine intervention after seeking fruitlessly for employment for a very long time.

•Alhaji Aminu Ero Deputy Director and officer in charge VIO Abuja...at the centre of sex scandal


When a seemingly caring neighbour and deputy director in the Federal Capital Territory Administration [FCTA] promised to offer her a job in December last year, 37-year-old Miss Maryam Adebola Marcus thought it was a divine intervention after seeking fruitlessly for employment for a very long time.

True to the promise, she secured a job as clerical officer with the FCT Directorate of Road Traffic Services, popularly known as Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO) three months after.

But two weeks after assuming office in July, 2007, Maryam says she had been literarily passing through hell and has been placed on the firing line for refusing to be the fourth wife of her 51-year-old boss who already has 17 children from his present three wives.

She alleged that unwilling to tame his libido despite her turning down his love advances, Alhaji Aminu Iro, a deputy director and officer in charge of the Directorate of Road Traffic Services in Abuja, gave her the option of choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea, as he vowed to throw her back into the labour market if she failed to accede to his amorous overtures.

Though age did not necessarily inform her decision not to have an illicit relationship with him, Maryam, who is still single, says the main reason was that she is already entangled with a man of she truly loves, with whom she had been engaged in a blossoming affair for almost three years. Her plight is worsened by the fact that besides the imminent sack hanging on her neck, her boss has further threatened to terminate the appointment of her younger brother who he also recruited into the agency at the same time she was employed.

In his determination to have her at all cost, she alleged that not long after assuming duties, her boss invited her to his office at about 12 noon on a fateful day and requested to have a quick round of sex with her inside his rest room, an act she bluntly refused to engage in.

“There was also another day he called me into his office again and pointed through his window to a cell in the VIO head office at Mabushi where they usually detain people, and said if I refused to have sex with him, he will put me inside the cell before sacking me," she further claimed in an interview with Sunday Sun.

When she refused to budge, Maryam said she was issued a flurry of queries with false allegations on the orders of her boss. She says in July 2007 alone, she was issued three queries and the issues raised lingered till last week, when she was issued another query bearing five charges, three of which had earlier been dropped.

In a memo addressed to the deputy director dated October16, 2007, and signed by Mrs.O.G Folarin, head of the agency’s administrative unit, Maryam was accused of “attempting to fight while on duty, refusal to proceed on posting, refusal to accept query letter, absence from duty without leave for two days, absconding from duty for three weeks without approval, and disobedience to lawful order.”

Folarin had recommended in the memo, a copy of which is in possession of Sunday Sun, that “based on the enormity of the allegations leveled against the officer and her failure to show remorse on the offences she has committed and refusal to take a lawful order, disciplinary proceedings should be instituted against the officer to serve as deterrent to others…Without bureaucratic principle, the case should be referred to Junior Staff Disciplinary Committee where the officer will be made to come out with her defense, if any”.

Consequently, Maryam said the disciplinary committee was constituted and she appeared before it to tender her defense, during which she called some witnesses. But she alleged that rather than writing a report on what transpired, she was shocked to receive another query dated November 1, 2007, and signed by the agency’s assistant chief provost officer and secretary of the disciplinary committee, Mr. I.D Idem.

The memo, also in possession of Sunday Sun, reads in part: “We wish to draw your attention to the fact that your conduct is unsatisfactory in the following respects –viz: refusal to proceed on posting, refusal to accept query letter, absence from duty without leave on 17th and 18th July, 2007, absconding from duty without approval from the management, refusal to acknowledge invitation of JSC to appear before the committee.

“Based on this, the committee is giving you another chance to submit your representations within 48 hours why disciplinary action should not be taken against you. Failure to submit them within this time limit will be taken to mean that you do not wish to make any and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against you."

In a manner suggestive of her unwillingness to tolerate further assault, Maryam responded to the query with a stinker of sorts, pointedly accusing the deputy director of sexual harassment, and vowing to swear by the Holy Koran as a Muslim, to prove her claim.
Her reply addressed to the secretary of the disciplinary committee and dated November 20, 2007, reads:

“I started by praying to the Almighty Allah to expose those who are bent on destroying me due to my refusal to go astray. Though they are in position of authority and behave as if they are holy, Allah is always in charge. In view of the above, I will emphatically state as follows: I actually reported to where I was posted based on the notice I saw on the notice board. I have my witnesses. I collected the query regarding item 2, and explained myself to my deputy director, Alhaji Aminu Iro. I was surprised of the change of heart from him after he accepted my explanation.

“I thought as a man of God [by appearance] later turned to the devil he portrayed himself when we were alone (sic). May Allah reveal his shameful act which my refusal is causing me all what I am going through now. I wish the current Nigeria leadership will prevail on this for future deterrence (sic). Please save my soul. I believe all other related issues mentioned in items 3-5 were as a result of the trauma I am going through by the single act of the officer I considered to be a father to me, who earlier on proposed to marry me as a new convert to Islam, but later turned to be the devil I was not expecting. May Almighty Allah let the truth be known. In fact, I am ready to swear by the Holy Koran on the issue when requested.”

Two days after submitting her reply to the query, Maryam alleged that the reality of the deputy director’s threat to detain her in the cell dawned on her as one of her colleagues in the provost unit where she is deployed, told her at about 12 pm on Thursday (November 22) that he had been directed to lock her up in the cell after removing her rank, beret and belt, but that he found it difficult implementing the order.

Hear her: “He told me he had been directed to remove my rank, beret, belt, and lock me in the cell, but he said he can’t do it. While he was discussing with me, two senior officers namely Emeka and Idem came and forcibly removed the items and wanted to put me inside cell.

They said I should remove my shirt and shoes, but I told them these were not government property, that I bought them. They wanted to force me into the cell, but the new chief provost, Mr. Tunde, came and asked them to leave me. He said they should follow him, and they all went to the deputy director’s office.”

Having secured temporary freedom, Maryam, who hails from Ile-Ife in Osun state, escaped from the scene and thereafer sought refuge at the Abuja office of The Sun, accompanied by Dr. Timothy Ihemadu, head of mission of the International Organization for Sustainable Development [IOSD], a non-governmental organization, to tell her tale of pain and agony. Her story:

The begining
“What brought me here (THE SUN Abuja office) is about sexual harassment from our deputy director in the office, Alhaji Aminu Iro. He is the overall boss at the VIO head office in Abuja. We were neighbours at the Leventis House in the Central Area of Abuja, before the house was sold in December last year. It is a one-storey block of four flats, two up, and two flats down. We lived in one of the flats upstairs, and Iro lived in the other one.

"One day, he came to inform us of the VIO job. It was me that he told about it. At the end of the day, he offered me and my younger brother, Sunday Akitibu, job in the VIO. We went for interview between December and January 2007. We got our appointment letters in March and left for training at the NYSC orientation camp at Kubwa, where we finished at the end of May, 2007. For about four weeks, they asked us to go on break and I resumed work on July, and was given my uniform.

"It was during our training that Alhaji Iro proposed to me, but I refused. I refused because he has three wives and 17 children, and I was so scared. Apart from that, I don’t have interest in him, and I didn’t expect that he would propose to me, because he is like our father and the Imam of the house. We were all Muslims occupying three of the flats in the block, except an engineer downstairs, who is a Christian."

Betrayal
"Iro proposed to me. He said he wanted to marry me as the fourth wife. He is 51 years old. All the while, he was being nice to me because he wanted to get me. When we started wearing the VIO uniform, he called me to his office one day in July, and told me that since he had offered me and my younger brother job, that it is time I had sex with him. He even wanted us to do it inside the toilet in his office. It was in the afternoon. In his office, he has this device which he controls from his seat to open or lock the door. There was another day he called me into his office again and pointed through his window to a cell where they usually detain people. He said if I refuse to have sex with him, he will put me inside the cell. It is today [Thursday] that I knew he meant all what he said."

Nightmare
"The first day he called me into his office was when problem started for me. It got to a point he even called my younger brother, Sunday, and asked him to talk to me to accept what he wanted from me. Sunday said the deputy director told him that after dismissing me from work, he will also dismiss him. Sunday further told me that he was warned not to let me know that he met with the deputy director. But he told me that since we are blood relations, he had to tell me all what they discussed for him not to dismiss us. He, therefore, advised me to go and see the deputy director.
"In fact, Sunday wanted me to have it with him for us not to lose our jobs. But I told him I can’t, that at my age, I want to respect myself. Since then, the deputy director has been giving me hell, asking them to give me query on false allegations and other things. In July alone, I was issued three queries, and the issues raised lingered on till November 20, 2007, when they issued me with another query with five charges, three of which they had initially removed."

Plot to sack me
"The former head of provost, Mr. Idem, who signed the last query confessed to me that it was the deputy director that ordered him to do what he was doing, that his hands are tied because I had been very loyal to him. I appeared before the JSC on October, contrary to the allegation that I didn’t. Our chief provost, Mr. Tunde, was there when I appeared. His deputy, Mr. Idem, was there. Mrs. Folarin, head of Admin, was also there. They all asked me questions. The deputy director was in his office watching the proceedings through his close circuit camera, and I got to know this because he was calling Idem from time to time."

False allegations
"On the allegation of my refusal to proceed on posting, I was posted from provost to monitoring in August. That was what everyone saw on the notice board. I reported there. After reporting at the monitoring unit in August, I left for Yola to take my exams at the College of Legal Studies , where I was studying for a diploma in Law.

Before I left, I was told that the personnel do cover up themselves when traveling. So, I told my immediate boss, Mr. Philibus, and he permitted me for three weeks. "But to be sincere with you, I didn’t obtain official permission. In fact, Philibus discussed the issue with the present assistant chief provost, Mr. Idem, who told him there was nothing he could do because it was an order from the deputy director. That is the only area I know that I erred, and I had apologized to the committee when I was invited. While I was still in Yola for my exams, someone called me on phone to inform me that I had been posted back to the provost unit.

"After appearing before the disciplinary committee, they asked me to go. Then, the next thing I got was a query dated November 1, 2007, and signed by Idem, which I replied on November 20, 2007. Surprisingly, at about 12 noon on Thursday November 22, one of my colleagues, a junior officer in the provost unit called me. He told me that he had been directed to remove my rank, beret and belt and lock me in the cell. But he said he can’t do it. While he was discussing with me, two senior officers, Emeka and Idem, came and forcibly removed the items and wanted to put me inside cell.

They said I should remove my shoes and shirt, but I told them they are not government property, that I bought them. Then, they wanted to force me into the cell, but the new chief provost, Mr. Tunde, came and asked them not to force me into the cell. He said they should follow him. So, they all went to the deputy director’s office. That was when I came to THE SUN newspaper to tell the world my story."

Dilemma
"I have a boyfriend. I’ve been with him for almost three years. But I haven’t told him what I’ve been passing through in the office since the beginning of my problems, because I know I will lose the job at the end of the day, so there was no need telling him. Besides, he is presently facing financial difficulties and I didn’t want to compound his agony. In fact, initially, he didn’t want me to work. Though my deputy director doesn’t know him physically, he knows about the affair because I told him everything about my boyfriend.

"Sadly, when I first got the job, I bought some clothing and other things for the children of the deputy director’s first wife whom I knew when she came to visit him in Abuja, because all his three wives are in Katsina. They only come to visit him and go back. When I met the first wife the first time and bought gifts for the children, she appreciated it. In fact, when she came on another visit by which time they had sold the block of flats we were living and the deputy director had moved to somewhere in Asokoro, she called me on phone to know when I was coming to visit them.

"So, when Idem told me it was the deputy director that ordered him to issue me query with false allegations, I went to the deputy director’s house where I met him with his first wife. When I confronted him about Idem’s claim, he denied. The wife said we should resolve the matter amicably in the office. But I didn’t tell her that her husband was harassing me for sex because I didn’t want to break her marriage.

"I knew that it will come to my losing the job because he had told my younger brother that he was going to dismiss both of us. That was why Sunday was crying that I should go to him. Presently, I have not been issued a letter of dismissal, but I don’t know my fate. However, I will still be reporting for work until the worst happens.”

Iro reacts
However, Alhaji Aminu Iro, the man at the centre of the storm, vehemently denied the allegation when contacted by Sunday Sun for comments, saying he is a victim of hi-tech politics within the directorate he superintends, as some powerful forces are bent on removing him as a result of his crusade against indiscipline and other malpractices in the agency.

He admitted being Maryam’s former neighbour at the Central area of Abuja , and also admitted facilitating the job offer for both herself and her younger brother. He was, however, evasive on whether he actually invited Maryam privately into his office, explaining that as the head of the directorate, several senior and junior officers usually visit his office to lay their complaints, and Maryam was no exception to the practice.

Recalling all the allegations contained in the queries issued to Maryam, Iro absolved himself of master-minding the actions against her, saying the measures were initiated and implemented by the relevant units in accordance with civil service regulations.

Reminded that Maryam had written a stinker in which she emphatically accused him of sexual harassment in her response to the last query which she forwarded to the disciplinary committee, Iro said he was yet to be briefed by the committee on what is contained in her reply, but expressed hope of getting details of the proceedings in the next few days.

While Maryam has indicated her readiness to swear by the Holy Quran as a Muslim to prove her allegation of sexual harassment, the deputy director says there is no basis for him to swear by the holy book as he was not before a court of law. Rather than swearing on any issue with the Holy Quran, Iro says he prefers merely swearing in the name of the Almighty God:

“You see, the whole thing is a long story. What is happening is a conspiracy by some people in the office who are uncomfortable with what I have been doing since I assumed duties as officer in charge of the directorate one year ago. So, there are some people that are trying to use her to tarnish my image.

“Maryam was actually my neighbour. I knew her when she came to me once to explain her predicament to me as we are all Muslims. On that day, she said she wanted to travel and needed some assistance. It is true that I assisted in recruiting both herself and her younger brother into the VIO. So, how could I turn around to be the one wanting to dismiss her from service.”
So, who is telling the truth?

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Comments (9)

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Kim Worley(Greeley, Colorado, US)says...

I heard this in a song and had no idea what it meant. Googled it and this came up. Very Cool. ????????????????

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Obinna(Newark Nj)says...

I want to know more meaning and significant of this name obidike in igboland

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Olusola Okhiria Nee Sodunke(Newport, Newport, UK)says...

This is a great piece of history, which is dear to our hearts as people and very much appreciated.

Many thanks to the people who worked hard in the past and those who are still making efforts to keep the institution.

The labour is obviouly worth it. We are proud of you all.

A lot still to be done, with the motivation of the champions of this course, others will follow as well to maintain the institution

May God continue to keep the edifice for development of future generations to the glory of God and the benefits of our fatherland.

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Joel Efiong(Calabar, Nigeria)says...

This is a great piece. The examination bodies should hire you as ICT consultant.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

ULIMASI means' GOD,THANK YOU' not THANK GOD.