NISER Workers Protest, Call DG ‘Thief’

Workers of the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, Ibadan on Tuesday morning staged a protest asking for the sack of the Director General who they called a “thief.”

The protesters blocked the entrance of the institute and were shouting “thief, thief. “

The Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions, NISER, Muyiwa Babatimehin; Chairman, Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals and Research Institutions, Mathew Olagunju and Chairman, Non-Academic Staff Union, Theophilus Tubi, led the protesters.

Protesters carried placards with various inscriptions accused the Director General, Dr Folarin Gbadebo-Smith, of administrative and academic incompetence, contract splitting and non prioritisation of research.

Babatimehin, who addressed journalists on the sidelines of the protest said,”We have tolerated Folarin Gbadebo-Smith for four years, we are not going to tolerate him for another four years. He should go.”

” He (DG) is incompetent. He doesn’t have PhD which is the requirement. He is a dentists but we thought he could still perform but he has performed woefully.

“He has received N988m in the last four years and less than 40 per cent is spent on research which is our core mandate. “

The workers vowed to make the institute ungovernable for the DG if his tenure was renewed.

They threatened to paralyse the institute with industrial action if Gbadebo-Smith was reapointed as the director general.

Babatimehin added that, “We found it auspicious to conscientiously implore the authorities to save NISER from an impending calamity by not returning the incumbent – Dr Folarin Gbadebo-Smith as Director-General at the expiration of his tenure in May, 2021.

“The authorities should put in place a process of appointing a new DG for NISER as enshrined in the Conditions of Service for Federal Research and Development Agencies, institutes and colleges: and immediately commence the investigation of these allegations and other possible administrative and financial infractions and culpable individuals be made answerable.

“In addition to the above, we also view with apprehension the sudden dissolution of the NISER Governing Council and we demand that the reason behind the purported dissolution be investigated.

“Also, in 2020, as a result of the controversies generated by promotion, research, and publication inadequacies at the institute; the Minister of State, National Planning constituted a panel which has concluded its work and possibly submitted their report.

“We therefore demand for the release of the report and the implementation of the recommendations therein.”

The DG could not be reached on his telephone and he had yet to reply the messages sent by our correspondent concerning the allegations.

The DG had earlier said the allegations were targeted to prevent him from being reappointed.

He said he would not respond because the petition against him was already being investigated by the supervisory ministry, Ministry of Budget and Planning which is the supervisory ministry for NISER.

According to source he stated that he had been instructed not to talk to the press about it.

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