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Alleged N25m Theft: FIIRO Management Panics As Union Demands Refund Of Stolen Money

-by Charles Onyema.

The Management of The Federal Institute of Industrial Research (FIIRO) led by the alleged incompetent Acting Director General of the embattled Federal Institute, Dr. Mrs. A.E. Asagbra, is agitated over the sustained demand by stakeholders for the return of the twenty five million Naira (N25m) purportedly stolen from the  Staff Cooperative Society and the FIIRO Muslim Community Cooperative Society.

The situation apparently forced the management to summon an emergency meeting on Thursday May20, 2021 to appeal to the union to sheath their sword over their demands.

According to a source who pleaded anonymity, the union insisted that the management must meet all of their demands stated in the letter to the management before they will accede to any peace meeting.

According to the insider source, the union’s resolutions include that: (a) every demand stated in the letter to Management and Board must be met. (b) N25 million stolen by Agents of FIIRO Management in Finance and Accounts Department of FIIRO must be returned by Management. (c) Substantive DG must be appointed without further delay.

(d) Outstation officers who attend promotion interview from Zonal Offices from the six Geopolitical Zones must be paid their Duty Tour Allowance (DTA), otherwise, Management must travel round to conduct the promotion interviews.

Recall that the Non Academic Staff Union of Educational & Associated Institutions, FIIRO Branch had in a letter dated 22nd April, 2021 addressed to the Ag. DG, FIIRO, titled “Our Grievance and Un-Resolved Issues,” demanded appointment of a substantive DG, who must be selected through due process and transparency.

The letter signed by the branch secretary, Oyebanji Samuel, and the branch chairperson, F.F. Ogunleye, partly reads as follows:

  1. Appointment of Substantive DG/CEO: The institute cannot move forward in the right direction until we have a substantive DG/CEO which must be appointed following due process and transparency beginning from the process of shortlisting, to interview and recommendation of successful candidates to the Ministry who will then forward the Board’s recommendation to the Presidency for approval of one candidate to be appointed as the DG/CEO. Please note that anything short of transparent selection process may bring the institution back to dark period and some aggrieved people may want to fault the process and write petitions. We cannot afford to waste more time. The management and board should make the appointment of DG/CEO a priority now and divert all available resources at the institute now to ensure the selection is done in accordance with due process.
  2. Promotion Interview: The management should start putting in motion machinery to conduct hitch free 2021 Senior Staff promotion with input from all the Directors at the Institute and Heads of Departments and invitation of statutory stakeholders including FMST, Head of Service etc.
  1. Issue of 30%: There is a very strong rumor going around that contractors are paying 30 percent back to the Institute, as a union, we need confirmation about the rumor. We also want to know how the fund is expended especially relating to staff welfare which is almost zero as at today. Our other counterparts in other institutes, even institutes similar to FIIRO were given incentives end of every year, but nothing have been done to our member since 2018.
  2. The agreement reached with our headquarter representative that is yet to be done are: (i) nonpayment of year 2019 and 2020 promotion arrears, (ii) Nonpayment of 8 months salary for some staff. (iii) Nonpayment of burial rites for deceased staff, (iv) payment of repatriation allowance to retirees. (v) Conversion/Upgrades of member out of three, you have attended to two members, its remaining Mrs. Afolabi Owafunke Olabimpe, (vi) omission of 2018 promotion arrears to our members, (vii) unauthorized deduction of our members’ salaries refers tour letter dated 15th March, 2021.

According to the insider, who pleads to remain anonymous, “FIIRO is now grossly unproductive, we are just living on the past glory, how long are we going to continue like this? When has the appointment of DG become the duty of the Governing Board? Must we play politics with everything because of vested interest? I have to state categorically that this mischievous act is to deceive the public into believing in the erroneous moves of the board and the conspiracy being carried out which is politically motivated.”

A reliable source at the supervising ministry, (FMST) says the FIIRO issue and those of other agencies under FMST will soon be resolved.

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