The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology has offered reasons why it cannot remove the acting Director-General of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi, Lagos, Chima Igwe, despite the confirmation that the PhD with which he got promoted to the position does not exist, The PUNCH is reporting.
The PUNCH, which broke the initial story, was told by the Ministry that it acted within its powers in appointing Igwe.
While insisting that he remained the head of the institute, the ministry said Igwe; a former DG of the Institute, Prof. Gloria Elemo; and the Governing Board were in the best position to explain the circumstances surrounding the controversial doctorate.
The spokesperson of the Ministry, Abdulganiyu Aminu, spoke with The PUNCH on the story that took corespondents of the newspaper as far as Benin Republic, where Igwe claimed to have obtained the doctorate at Abomey-Calavi University.
Aminu told The PUNCH: “Dr Igwe, based on the records available, is the most senior Director in FIIRO and he was appointed Director in 2010, which is five years before the Minister (Ogbonnaya Onu) was appointed in his first tenure.”
Asked to react to the controversial PhD on which basis Igwe got promoted to that point, he said: “I think you should contact him directly to get the information from him.
“It is not to the knowledge of the ministry that he has a case with the ICPC (Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission).
“Except the ICPC writes us, we may not even know.
“So, we don’t know about the investigation.”
Asked what the ministry would do after confirming the PhD was non-existent, Aminu said: “It’s a speculation.
“Let’s wait and see what happens if it is confirmed.”
The spokesperson of the ICPC, Rasheedat Okoduwa, has confirmed that the anti-corruption agency is looking into Igwe’s case.