From Abdullahi Hassan, Zaria
The Director-General, National Research Institute For Chemical Technology (NARICT), Zaria, Prof Jeffery Tsware Barminas, has threatened to sue Network for Justice over alleged corruption and use of ethnic and religion sentiments in running the affairs of the institution.
Network For Justice, a human rights organisation, in a petition to the Minister of Science and Technology, dated February, 29, 2021, accused the Director-General for abuse of office and breach of public service.
The organisation also accused Prof Barminas of bias in the promotion exercise, nonremittance of internal revenue, witch-hunting in the transfer of staff and irregularity in contract appointment.
‘It is crystal clear that the Director-General of NARICT has contravened the provision of the 5th schedule, Part 1, Section (1 ) of the constitution of Nigeria (1999) as amended,’ it said.
Reacting to the petition, the Director of the Institute, Prof Jeffery Tware Barminas, said: ‘We have no option than to take legal action on the matter hence the petitioners could not prove the allegations.’
According to him, ‘the two deputy directors allegedly transferred on punitive motive are Dr Musa Mohammed, posted to Amasiri, Ebonyi State to drive the utilisation of indigenous Technologies in Salt Project, and Dr Haruna, a Chemical Engineer, was transferred to Langtan to drive our solid Mineral Development Programmes and Mr Bala Danladi posted to Kano to handle commercial activities of the Institute.
‘Let me tell the petitioners that NARICT does not have any station at Ado local government in Benue State as they alleged, so posting a staff who is a sister to Director of Administration does not arise,’ he argued.
On the allegations of corruption by non-remittance payment of monthly staff rent to TSA, Prof Barminas said the petitioners did not attach any document to support their allegations.
‘Rents are considered as internally generated revenue (IGR) and have been paid to TSA as required, amounting to N7,529.732.50 from 2017 to 2020,’ he said.
On diversion of budget funds, the Director-General said the petition had failed to explain how the budget was diverted looking at the period he took over in 2017.
‘The investigations reports from the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU) gives a clear picture of the financial and budgetary infractions by my predecessor in office, including misapplication/misappropriation of budget funds, non-implementation of approved projects with cash backing and movement of institute’s property without documentation.’
He also dismissed the allegation of irregularity in the promotion exercise in the institute. ‘All promotion exercises were done transparently in accordance with extant rules and held with absolute integrity,’ noting that the directors of Chemical Technology and Human Resources of the Ministry of Science and Technology can attest to that fact.
The Director-General said it was surprising that the Network for Justice, ‘whose stock in trade should be equity and fair treatment, did not mention the case of Shitu Umaru Mohammed who headed a Textile Department without a PhD.
He said that the petition was written out of desperation of some vested interests vehemently opposed to his headship of NARICT and would go to any length to undermine him.
‘Interestingly, the common traits in all these petitions is the intent to cause an ethnic and religious crisis in the institute,’ he said.
‘Please, let anybody come to NARICT and see how we transformed the place despite little resources at our disposal,’ he concluded.