The President, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd), has ordered the arraignment of a former acting Director-General of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi, Lagos, Chima Igwe.
He directed the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission to begin the process of his prosecution for receiving salaries with a phantom doctorate for 18 years.
Buhari also asked the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, to allow the institute’s governing board to operate freely.
The President instructed that the board should commence the process of appointing a substantive director general.
This may be a resolution of the leadership tussle that has crippled the running of the institute for about two years.
In 2019, when the position of DG was vacant at FIIRO after the former occupant retired, Onu appointed Igwe despite the opposition of the governing board due to his controversial doctorate, which was being investigated by the ICPC.
Our correspondent, who visited Universite D’Abomey Calavi, Benin Republic, where he claimed to have bagged the PhD, discovered that he did not complete the programme and had only been using an attestation letter issued by his supervisor in 2002 to gain promotion at the institute.
The ICPC, which initially cleared Igwe, said it was misled and reopened investigation into his case. The agency later concluded that he did not finish the academic programme.
He was subsequently deposed and demoted by the FIIRO board to the position he held before claiming the phantom certificate in 2002.