News The African Way

Nigeria: “We Will Resist Leadership Imposition”, NITR Staff Warn Science Minister

The joint unions of Nigerian Institute for Trypanosomiasis Research (NITR), in partnership with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), in Kaduna, have said that the union will not accept any attempt to impose on them, Dr. Felicia Chizoba Nneka Enwezor as  Overseeing Director General suspended in July, 2022.

The  Staff gave the warning at a press conference in Kaduna, warning that any attempt to do so will be resisted at all costs.

The Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI), Comrade Moyijo Hussaini who also doubles as the Joint Union Chairman, alleged that the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Senator Adeleke Mamora in an attempt to bring back Dr. Felicia Nneka Chizoba Enwezor, wrote a petition to the inspector General of Police, claiming that the suspended Overseeing DG was forcefully ejected.

It would be recalled that the Governing Council of NITR, suspended Dr. Felicia Nneka Enwezor, over an alleged gross misconduct in July, 2022.
According to them, the suspended Overseeing DG failed to respect and implement the court order delivered of May 18, 2022, which reinstated the governing council.

They also added that Dr. Felicia N.C. refused to take lawful orders as directed by the authorities to convene board meeting despite council’s instruction and for that, directed the most Senior Director of Research, Dr. Joseph Ajakaiye, to oversee the affairs of the institute, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Hussaini further stressed that the institution has been enjoying relative peace since the suspension of Dr. F.N.C Enwezor and therefore called on the minister to desist from any form of imposition.
, “We need to let Nigerians know that the minister in his aggrieved approach to bring back the suspended overseeing Director General, Dr. Felicia Enwezor, wrote a petition to the inspector General of Police, claiming that the suspended ODG was forcefully ejected.

“As representatives of staff, we want to use this medium to inform the relevant authorities that Dr. Felicia Enwezor has been suspended by the governing council of NITR and since her suspension in July 2022, the institute is enjoying smooth running and relative peace.

“As law abiding citizens, we want the Honourable Minister of Science Technology and Innovation to desist from any further imposition of Dr. Felicia Enwezor as she was duly suspended by the council.” He said.

Speaking with journalists shortly after the Press conference, the Head of Legal Services, NITR Barrister Abdulrazak Usman said it is illegal for the suspended ODG to return. “The dissolution of Lambu’s Council by the then Minister FMST Ogbonnaya Onu having spent only three (3) years as against five (5) contained in NITR Establishment Act has been challenged at the National Industrial Court (NIC) Abuja and there was judgement on their favour.

“By virtue of that, the earlier board that was appointed after their alleged termination doesn’t exist. Because in the judgement of the court, the court specifically stated that the appointment of that board was null and void. As am talking to you now, their five years tenure will expire today.
“So the Minister cannot come and say that the board which was appointed after the alleged termination of their tenure should come back again because they have used their five years tenure. It’s going to be a new board that will be reconstituted.” He explained.

Comrade Umar Musa, Chairman Senior Staff Association (SSA) states unequivocally that the National Industrial Court (NICN) Abuja had declared a judgement dated 18th Day of May, 2022 that the purported appointment, constitution and inauguration of the new Governing Council led by Engr. Nuraini Abdullahi Adamu is malicious, illegal and liable to be nullified.

The court further restrained Engr. Nuraini’s Council from acting, conducting or parading themselves as members of the Governing Council of NITR.

However, as regards to the Tenure’s expiration of the Rt. Hon.Shehu Haruna Lambu’s led council dated 7th March, 2023, the Honourable Minister and the Federal Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation (FMST&I) are to inform Mr. President and Commander in Chief of Armed Forces seeking approval for the constitution and inauguration of a new council.

The joint Unions includes: senior staff association NITR Branch, Non Academic Staff Union, NITR Branch, Chairman of Civil Society Organization in Kaduna state, Secretaries of various Unions, Civil Society Organizations and executive members of the various unions.

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