Prosecute Sacked FIIRO Chief For Felony – Group Tells FG

  • Issues 30 days ultimatum
  • ICPC’s report indicts Igwe

An anti-corruption organization, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA Resource Centre) has given the Federal Government a 30-day ultimatum to prosecute dismissed former Acting Director General of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research (FIIRO), Oshodi, Chima Igwe, or face legal actions.

According to the group, Igwe has committed felony and should face the consequences of his fraudulent actions.

In a petition addressed to the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mallami, HEDA urged the Federal Government to ensure Igwe faces the full weight of the law.

“There cannot be two laws for poor and rich Nigerians. Ordinary people who forged documents are jailed. The rich should not be spared. Igwe till date has not justified that he earned a Ph.D.

“He has been sacked by the Federal Government. That action is not enough. He has to explain to Nigerians whether he actually earned a Ph.D or not.

“It was on the basis of his so called Ph.D that he earned salaries and privileges from the public resources for 17 years,” HEDA said in its petition.

Signed by its Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, HEDA’s petition said failure of the former Acting Director-General of FIIRO to produce his certificate was contrary to the provisions of Section 105 of the Criminal Code Act, which states that any person who, being authorised or required by law to give any certificate touching any matter by virtue whereof the rights of any person may be prejudicially affected, gives a certificate which is, to his knowledge, false in any material particular, is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for three years”.

The petitioners insisted that Igwe’s action amounts to obtaining under false pretence, as stated in Section 418 of the Criminal Code Act which states that: “Any representation made by words, writing, or conduct, of a matter of fact, either past or present, which representation is false in fact and which the person making it knows to be false or does not believe to be true, is a false pretence.”

Following intensive campaign led by HEDA Resource Centre, Igwe was sent packing from office following a string of media reports that he could not justify his Ph.D certificate reportedly obtained from Universite Nationale du Benin (now Universite d’Abomey- Calavi) in Benin Republic upon which he had been conferred with series of awards and promotions.

HEDA had demanded full scale investigations into the fact that Igwe’s only evidence of the purported Ph.D. for 18 years remained an attestation letter and the development led to his eventual dismissal from service by the government.

  • ICPC Releases Report

However, reacting to the certificate scandal, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) had confirmed that the immediate past FIIRO Director General, Mr. Chima Igwe, did not completed his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme.

It said though Igwe did the required three years for the programme – from 1999 to 2002 – and wrote a thesis, he has not defended it in the last 18 years.

According to the anti-graft agency; “Igwe cannot be said to have been awarded a Doctor of Philosophy since he is yet to complete the process of defence of his thesis”.

The ICPC’s clarifications, contained in a statement by its spokesperson Mrs Rasheedat A. Okoduwa, came on the heels of the alleged certificate scandal involving Igwe’s PhD since his appointment as the Acting DG of FIIRO in May 2019.

Though some workers alleged that he did not have a PhD certificate, which entitled him to lead such a sensitive research centre, the acting DG had maintained that he completed his PhD course.

But from its reports, the ICPC insisted that Igwe does not have a PhD certificate since he is yet to fully complete his course of study.

The anti-corruption agency said its findings revealed that Igwe had just applied to “re-register and update his research results in the current 2019-2020 academic year”, adding; “In the past few weeks, the alleged certificate scandal involving the Acting Director-General of the Federal Institute for Industrial Research (FIIRO), Oshodi, Mr. Chima Igwe, has been entangled in a lot of controversy.”

Defending the position of submitting its findings to relevant authorities for necessary action, the anti-graft agency said; “To clear the air and fulfil its pledge to make public its findings on the matter, the ICPC hereby places on public record the outcome of its further investigations.” – With Agency report

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