FIIRO: Group unveils plan to blackmail Acting DG, Igwe


… Calls for probe of those found culpable

The Coalition of Civil Society Groups against Corruption in Nigeria has demanded that the media trial, blackmail and ridicule of the personality of the Acting Director General of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), Dr. Chima Cartney Igwe be stopped immediately.

The group in a press conference addressed in Lagos on Thursday by Comrade Emmanuel Ayodeji, Comrade Usman Babale and Comrade John Atani recalled that Nigeria and particular the media space had been saturated with the happenings and events going on at FIIRO all geared towards forcefully removing the DG of the institute and rubbishing him from office based on grounds unknown to the law and common sense of nationhood.

The group noted that it can’t afford to continually sacrifice the best on the altar of regional sensationalism, tribalism and blackmail and hence its intervention.

It further disclosed that a couple of weeks ago, the issue surrounding FIIRO and her acting DG was brought to it through a petition  by the senior staff association of the institute requesting that it look into it as a civil society organisation with a view to picketing and joining the call for the removal of the DG.

“As a responsible organisation which shall not be used to bring anyone down, we looked into the facts of the matter and found out the following.

“1. The plot to remove the DG is allegedly being hatched by top notch staffs of the institute with covert support from some individuals outside of the institute who hopes to benefit from the imbroglios by becoming the substantive DG of the institute. They attempt to frame up the acting DG with the intention of bringing him to public opprobrium and remove him from office. The kernel of this revelation is a plot to discredit his qualifications that qualifies him for the position he occupies.

“You will recall that this is not the first time attempts has been made to remove him from office especially after his emergence as the Acting DG. Soon after his appointment as the Acting DG and following petitions as regards the genuiness of the certificates in his possession, the Honourable Minister ordered investigation into the matter and subsequently asked that the ICPC, an agency of government saddled with such issue to take it up, investigate and make public their findings.

“The acting DG was eventually discharged and acquitted of all the charges and his certificate authenticated and proven original. One wonders then what his assailants and detractors wanted by keeping with the lies against Dr. Igwe despite been investigated and cleared.

“2. It has also been discovered that the ethnic card is been played in this matter as several text messages and personal conversations with the tools being used in the plot are often quick to say that the slot belongs to a particular tribe and should not be taken away from them as if it is a traditional title. Nigeria remains one undivided nation where ethnicity does not come before qualification. No one should further divide the people by playing ethnic card as the DG of FIIRO should be devoid of tribe or regionalism as a federal institute.

“With the intent of framing him up and bringing him to national and international disrepute, We wish to point out that throughout his public service career till date, Dr. Igwe has distinguished himself as a beacon of excellence, hope, accountability, probity and transparency in Nigeria and beyond; as well as a role model for millions of Nigerians irrespective of affiliations, religion or tribe. Since his emergence as a scholar and head of an institute, Dr. Igwe has never been indicted publicly or privately for financial malfeasance or any form of ill conduct.

“We wish to warn, in the strongest terms possible, that as a coalition of civil society organisation, we will not sit idly by and watch any Nigerian being maligned; oppressed or ridiculed by a group of people for personal gains and vindictiveness.

“In the event of this plot being put into action and since the civil service rule prevents the man in the eye of the storm to speak for himself, we shall resist such barefaced blackmail. We are not unmindful of the fact that this plot gained currency with the resolve of Dr. Igwe not to allow business as usual but to sanitize the institute in alignment with the vision of the presidency and the Honourable Minister of Science and Technology”, it stated.

It therefore suggested that all players in the game of shame and particularly the leadership of the staff union be probed for their involvement in bringing the name and integrity of the institute to disrepute and for breaking the civil service rule in the engagement of the press without exhausting the internal mechanism of government and her agencies.

The group further demanded that the civil service rule be applied to anyone found guilty or culpable in the trouble that has bedeviled the institute.

“That the ICPC again make known and public their finding as regards the issue surrounding the certificates of the acting DG.

“That the Honourable Minster of Science and Technology allow the acting DG to be confirmed in full capacity through recommendations to the presidency for such a confirmation.

“That the office of the head of service open books of records and investigate all heads of departments and directors in the institute to determining their culpability or otherwise in the crisis that befell the institute.

“That a letter of apology be written by the staff Union to the Acting DG and such publicized in the dailies for bringing disrepute to the person and personality of Dr. Igwe”, it added.

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