The recent circular by Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, to ministers, head of civil service of the federation, and heads of Federal Government agencies have put the Governing Board of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) on the spot over the suspension of the institute’s acting Director General, Dr. Chima Igwe.
Igwe was suspended by the FIIRO Governing Board in February 19, 2020 over controversy in relation to the Phd he obtained from a university in Republic of Benin. He has, however, tendered original certificate of the doctorate degree.
Following arbitrary removal of heads of Federal Government agencies, the SGF, in a memo dated May 20, 2020, outlined procedure for the discipline of government topshots, which he said must be adhered.
The circular, entitled, “Approved Disciplinary Procedures Against Chief Executive Officers of Federal Government Parastatals, Agencies and Departmenrt,” said the Federal Government was concerned over”arbitrary removal of chief executive officers and its impact in service delivery.”
The SGF, in outlining procedures to be followed in the discipline of chief executives of government agencies, stated that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved that when a chief executive of agencies is accused of “serious misconduct,” it is the duty of the supervising minister to refer the matter to the Governing Boatd for necessary action, through the Permanent Secretary.
The memo said on receipt of the minister’s directive, the Governing Board shall issue a query to the chief executive officer requesting explanation, following which the board shall forward its findings and recommendation to the minister for “further consideration and action.”
The letter said where the Governing Board initiates the disciplinary action, it must query the chief executive officer and obtain explanation before making recommendations for punishment to the minister.
Upon receipt of the Governing Board’s recommendation, the memo said, the minister shall make recommendations to the SGF, attaching the board’s position and the affected chief executive officer’s explanation. The SGF will then make recommendations to the President.
The circular said when the President approves a line of action, it is the duty of the SGF to convey such to the chief executive officer concerned.
The SGF memo said: “ This procedure shall serve as a mandatory guide and all ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and any other public officer in similar supervisory position, are enjoined to strictly abide by its content. For emphasis, on no account shall a minister of the Federal Republic unilaterally or arbitrarily remove a serving chief executive officer, without recourse to the procedure contained in this circular.”
Daily Sun gathered that with the content of the SGF circular, the suspension of Dr. Igwe at FIIRO did not follow due process.
Sources said the FIIRO Governing Board did not query Igwe nor obtained his explanation before sending him on suspension.
The FIIRO Governimg Board, it was gathered, just wrote to the former acting DG suspending him from office with effect from February 19, 2020, via an email from the Gocerning Board chairman and appointing a replacement.
Sources revealed that after Igwe was suspended, the board, perhaps realising that it goofed, set up a committee to investigate the allegation. The committee thereafter queried him and asked him to appear before it on February 27, 2020, 17 days after his suspension. The DG was suspended before the procedure that would have led to that was followed.
Minister of Science and Technolody, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, had, a few weeks ago, written to FIIRO Governing Board directing the recall of Dr. Igwe and his reinstatement to his former office.
The minister’s directive followed Dr. Igwe’s presentation of his original doctorate degree certificate from the Universite d’Abomey-Calavi, duly issued on February 14, 2020 and signed by the university’s Director, Prof. Joel Tossa and Vice Registrar, Prof. Djimon Marcel Zannuo.