Ministry matters

The group defends the National Assembly, the Ministry of Science, PRODA and others against allegations of fraud

By Fred Itua Abuja

The allegations against the Institute for Project Development (PRODA), the National Assembly, the Office of Public Procurement (BPP) and the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation have been declared false.

The Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria (COCSON) said so on Thursday in Abuja.

Speaking to reporters in Abuja, the group’s executive secretary, Tijani Ali Danjuma, said that before coming to the conclusion that the allegations against these organizations were not correct, they embarked on independent findings to find out the truth behind the problems.

“Having critically observed Daniel Onjeh’s ongoing accusations against the Institute for Project Development (PRODA), the National Assembly, the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. The Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria (COCSON) has decided to embark on independent findings to uncover the truth behind the brickbat,” the group said.

The group further clarified that “following numerous allegations brought against the former chairman of the board of directors of PRODA, Mr. Daniel Onjei, by the management of PRODA and the contractors and the accusations brought against the former managing director of PRODA by Dr. Daniel Onjeh and other former members of the PRODA Board of Directors, the then Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Charles Agulana, was suspended and Daniel Onjeh was also asked to step down by the office of the secretary of the government of the federation (OSGF) pending the outcome of the conclusions of the investigation.

“It is important to emphasize here that the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (FMSTI) never asked these people to step down, but was ordered to do so by the President through the Office of the Secretary to the Federation Government (OSGF).’

COCSON also reacted to the allegation that Dr. Chima Igwe’s certificate was fake, adding that some bodies had investigated and found that his certificate was correct.

“As an independent organization devoid of any sentiment and partisanship, we are boldly saying that this whole charade is baseless and without substance, so we call on Nigerians to ignore such shenanigans,” Danjuma said. .

Speaking further, Danjuma said: “May we also take this opportunity to inform the world that the question of Dr C Igwe, the former Supervising Managing Director of FIIRO, whom Daniel Onjeh claims has not no doctorate, it is up to the court to decide, but it is relevant to note that our investigation revealed that:

“The Dr. Chima Igwe certificate crisis has something to do with who becomes the FIIRO Chief Executive and started with a faceless petition by non-existent ‘FIIRO staff’ acting on behalf of a group of the FIIRO who wrote to the director of the FIIRO Board, copying the ICPC, alleging that Dr. Chima Igwe’s doctorate was false or fraudulent.

‘In response to the above allegation, the FIIRO Board of Trustees wrote to the University of Abomey-Calavi, Republic of Benin, through the Embassy of Nigeria in the Republic of Benin, requesting verification of the doctoral certificate and access to their official transcript. This letter is available for inspection.

‘The University of Abomey-Calavi, Republic of Benin responded to the request for certificate verification and further sent its academic records through the same Embassy of Nigeria in the Republic of Benin which wrote to the board Board of FIIRO to quash and prove the allegations wrong and untrue. Relevant records are available.

‘The FIIRO Board of Directors has acknowledged receipt of the letter from the Embassy of Nigeria, Republic of Benin ‘of the verified doctorate certificate of Mr. CC Igwe transmitted by the University of Abomey-Calavi, Republic of Benin’ via a letter dated April 1, 2019 and signed by the then Managing Director/CEO, FIIRO, Prof. GN Elemo (Secretary, Board, FIIRO). The letter is available.

“This matter was also brought to the ICPC by FMSTI for investigation and in a letter dated September 11, 2019, by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC) to the Honorable Minister, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr. Chima Igwe was cleared of alleged possession and forgery of a PhD certificate. The letter is also available.

“This ICPC concluded in its clearance letter from Dr. Chima Igwe: “Therefore, an allegation that he falsified his doctoral certificate has not been substantiated as it appears that he obtained all his certificates in accordance with the established procedure.

“The Federal Ministry of Education (FME) has confirmed that the PhD certificate in Chemistry awarded to Dr Chima Igwe on July 3, 2002 is equivalent to a PhD awarded by a Nigerian university in a similar field of study.”