The National Industrial Court of Nigeria, sitting in Abuja, has ordered the executive secretary of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Prof Garba Hamidu Sharubutu, not to conduct any interview for the position of Provost, Federal College of Veterinary and Medical Laboratory Technology, Vom, Jos, Plateau.
The Court also restrained the new minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Mahmoud Abubakar, from going ahead with the aptitude test for the nine applicants, who were shortlisted for the position of Provost, scheduled to hold at the College premises on Thursday, September 2, 2021.
A copy of the court order obtained by LEADERSHIP, which was signed by Justice Bashar Alkali, reads in part: “I grant an order of interim injunction, restraining the Defendants/Respondents, their agents, privies, howsoever called, from proceeding with the scheduled interview/aptitude test/Examination to fill up the office of the Provost, Federal College of Veterinary and Medical Laboratory Technology, Vom, Plateau State (FCVLT), scheduled to hold on the 2nd day of September, 2021, pending the hearing and determination of motion of notice for interlocutory injunction.
“I also grant an order of interim injunction restraining the Defendants/Respondents, their agents, privies, howsoever called, from suspending, removing or terminating the appointment of the Claimant/Applicant without following due process of law, pending the hearing and determination of the motion for interlocutory injunction.”
Justice Alkali, it was gathered, made the order, upon entertaining a motion exparte from the applicant, Dr Joseph Okwori, who is the current provost of the College, on Tuesday, August 31, 2021, through his counsel, Barr. Dayo Oshonibare.
Dr Okwori was reportedly appointed as the Provost on July 2, 2018, through a letter of appointment signed by the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Abdukadir Mu’azu, for a period of five years.
A paragraph from the letter of appointment reads: “Consequently, your appointment which will run for a single period of (5) five years now takes effect from 2nd July, 2018. This is in recognition of your dedication and commitment to service delivery as well as your immense contribution to the development of the Green Alternative Program (GAP). It is expected that you would continue to lay a solid foundation for the implementation of the Mandate/objectives of the College in accordance with extant laws and other subsisting Rules and Regulations”.
But barely three years in office, the Ministry, through the ARCN, advertised a vacancy for the office of Provost and went ahead to shortlist nine candidates for interview this Thursday.
The matter has been adjourned till September 14, for hearing of the motion for interlocutory injunction.