NITR workers reject ex-DG, wants incumbent DG validated 

Nigerian Institute for Trypanosomiasis Research (NITR), joint workers union has rejected reinstatement of the suspended Overseeing Director General, Dr. Felicia N. Enwezor, while calling for validation of appointment of incumbent overseeing DG, Dr. Joseph Ajakaiye.

Chairman of the Joint Union, including Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI), Senior Staff Association of Teaching Hospitals, Universities, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSATHURAI), and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), Comrade Moyijo Hussaini, who conveyed the workers’ resistance to the reinstatement on Tuesday, called for immediate release of the result of Director-General interview conducted by the Council through due process for the appointment of a substantive DG.

Speaking in a letter signed by 24 executive committee members of the joint union branch after an emergency meeting on Tuesday, the union called on the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (FMSTI), Mr James Sule to ensure transparency, integrity, and adherence to the presidential directives as communicated to the then Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu in a letter dated September 1, 2021, with reference number SH/COS/16/A/1487.

According to the Joint Union, “the letter instructed the Inspector General of Police to investigate police involvement in the day-to-day affairs of the Institute and take appropriate action against those responsible for harassing the workers”.

The Joint Union unequivocally stated that “Dr. Felicia N. C. Enwezor was suspended and relieved of her duty as Overseeing Director General by the Lambu-led legal Council of NITR at its 107th meeting held in Kaduna as a result of serious misconduct, as mentioned in a letter, S/TR/49/Vol xi/xxx, sent to the Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation on July 20, 2022”.

The workers’ union criticized the Mr. James Sule-led FMST&I for recent establishment of an implementation committee led by the Director of Human Resource Management, Mrs. Abosede Jumoke Aileru, tasked with implementing a report from the Force Criminal Investigative Department (FCID) of the Nigerian Police force. The Union argued that “the charges mentioned in the report were baseless and lacked merit since the suspended Overseeing DG, Dr. Felicia N. Enwezor, was not forcefully ejected from her position, as claimed by the Ministry, but was suspended by the Governing Council due to various offences.

“These include failure to comply with court orders (suit no: NICN/ABJ/297/2021 delivered on May 18, 2022), disregarding instructions to convene board meetings, abandoning official duties without delegation, and failing to carry out Governing Council decisions regarding the appointment of a substantive Director General. The suspended Director General also engaging in harassment and unruly behaviour towards union officials who were acting on Council instructions.

“We therefore demand that the appointment of the current Overseeing Director General, Dr. Joseph Joachim Ajakaiye, be validated. Also, we request the release of the result of Director-Generalship interview conducted by the Council through due process for the appointment of a substantive Director General of NITR, Kaduna.”