Stakeholders in the research and development institutes (RDI) sector urged the Federal Government to take urgent steps to clear the confusion at Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), over the tenure of the Governing Board.
The stakeholders expressed concern that despite the expiration of the tenure of the Governing Board of FIIRO, it has defied the notice of dissolution by the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation and have continued to hold meetings.
The three-year tenure of the Governing Board, which was inaugurated on 8 March 2018 along with those of 13 other parastatals/agencies under the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (FMSTI) , expired on March 7 this year but they remained in office until August when the ministry notified them of the expiration of their tenures and dissolved them.
The Board however, insisted that only the President has the power to dissolve them.
It was gathered that the FMSTI got the approval from the Presidency for the re-constitution and inauguration of new Governing Boards of the affected agencies as required by law and that all members of the affected boards were duly notified of the tenure expiration.
Last week, the Governing Board held a four-day meeting from Monday through Thursday at FIIRO to the dismay of stakeholders and watchers of the sector.
It was also gathered that the tenure-expired Governing Board still engaged in other statutory activities such as appointments, promotions, discipline of staff and procurement matters without recourse to FMSTI after the expiration of its tenure.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the tenure-expired Governing Board claims have gotten an approval for tenure elongation from the Presidency, posting a purported letter signed for the Chief of Staff to the President by a Special Assistant to the President (Administration and Operations) as evidence.
Prior to the meeting, FMSTI was said to have written to the tenure-expired “Board members” to dissuade them from going ahead with the planned meetings. The Ministry had also written to the Overseeing Director General of FIIRO, Dr. (Mrs.) Agnes E. Asagbra, advising her not to commit government resources in hosting of illegal meetings.
Stakeholders said they are now confused as to how the Presidency on one hand would give approval for the reconstitution and inauguration of boards of these agencies through FMSTI, and on the other hand, give approval for tenure elongation to the chairman of one of the tenure-expired boards without recourse to the supervising ministry.