Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
A group under the auspices of Kogi State Indigenes working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ministry has defended Mrs Regina Ingekem Ocheni, an Ambassador-designate, as being qualified to be ratified by the National Assembly as an ambassador.
The workers in a statement copied to the Senate President and the Director-General of the DSS, and made available to reporters in Lokoja, urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to allow prejudice against Mrs Ocheni to prevail because she is a woman.
The workers, reacting to a petition against the confirmation of Mrs Ocheni, said they were happy that the petitioners did not fault her integrity or competence, neither did they suggest any negative report against her person in the line of duty, pointing out that their allegations were based on their ignorance of civil service rules and records available to them.
The statement was signed by one Comfort Jumai Ali and Ibrahim Abdul on behalf of Kogi Indigenes in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The statement reads:
‘Our attention has been drawn to a petition against nomination of Mrs Regina Ingekem Ocheni, an ambassadorial nominee from Kogi state wherein among other issues raised alleged that the said Mrs Ocheni is not an indigene of Kogi state as she is from Cross River State but married to Professor Ocheni an indigene of Kogi state.
‘We deem it necessary to respond to the said petition as follows:
‘That Mrs Ocheni (a worthy indigene of Kogi state) got married to Prof. Ocheni 35 years ago and subsequently obtained Kogi state indigeneship certificate in 1997 with which she was employed by Kogi state government where she worked for years before transferring her service to the federal civil service which confirms the fact that the good people and government of Kogi state have since identified and recognized her as one of their own.
‘That the House of Representatives in May 2019 at the committee of the house considered “a bill for an Act to amend the Federal character commission establishment Act 2010 Laws of the federation of Nigeria cap P7 to give married women the option of indigeneship and for other related matters.
‘The bill sponsored by Edward Pwajok amended section 2 of the said Federal character commission establishment act and introduced a new section for the purpose of Election and Appointment of married women, thereby giving married women the Right to choose either their father or husband’s state of origin.
‘The allegation that Mrs Ocheni is not qualified for the position on the ground that she had HND and not a degree and should not be promoted beyond level 14 we state unequivocally as follows;
‘That Mrs Ocheni’s obtained her Master’s degree from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Akwa since 2004 which takes precedence over all her previous qualifications and ably qualifies her for any available job/assignment or appointment in or to any part of the world.
‘The allegation that she was transferred to the Federal civil service on grade level 15 is false as she was actually transferred to the federal civil service on grade level 14 but passed her promotion examination organized by the Federal Civil Service commission to GL 15.’