A socio political group, Arewa Youth Assembly (AYA) is seeking the sack of Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Ogbonnaya Onu, over his alleged role in the appointment of former acting Director-General (DG) of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), Lagos, Chima Igwe despite strong opposition to that appointment in 2019.
The group who asked President Muhammudu Buhari to sack the Minister said the President’s directive that the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) to begin the process of interrogating Igwe for receiving salaries with a phantom doctorate for 18 years is enough indictment of Ogbonnaya.
According to a statement by Mohammed Salihu Danlami, the Speaker of AYA, made available to pressmen, Buhari had asked the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, to allow the institute’s governing board to operate freely as it commenced the process of appointing a substantive boss for the institute.
Danlami said that the discovery of scandalous claims in FIIRO showed that the country is faced with alarming scandals in high places capable of bringing the country to its knees if Buhari fails to sack Onu to serve as a deterrent to others yet to be discovered.
According to the Speaker, “Mr Igwe has taken us 18 years back research wise. His act places a lot of questions on his ability as a research fellow he claimed to be. This is a huge setback for science and technology in Nigeria because the backbone of developing countries like ours is research which is saddled with this institute.”
“It is even more disturbing that a supervising minister was not only aware but was instrumental to the destruction of such important institute right under his supervision” he added.
AYA commended Buhari for the order to prosecute Mr Igwe by ICPC, and stated that his accomplices should also be made to face the wrath of the law for deceiving Nigerians. The Group said until his removal, demotion and more recently the order for his prosecution by Mr President, Igwe has paraded himself as a holder of a doctorate from University D’Abomey, Calavi, Republic of Benin, which earned him promotions in the past 18 years – the recent been DG of FIIRO.
“He wouldn’t have made it if not for the involvement and backing of the Minister for Science and Technology Mr Ogbonayya Onu.
Shortly after his appointment, series of protests began to rise that rocked the FIIRO office which led to Mr Igwe’s suspension and subsequent lunch of investigation into the allegations laid against him” AYA stated.