By Henry Uche
Anti-corruption group, Human & Environmental Development Agenda, HEDA, has insisted that former Acting Director- General of Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi, (FIIRO), Mr Chima Igwe, must return all salaries and allowances he received in that capacity with a bogus PhD certificate.
In a petition written and signed by HEDA’s Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC), HEDA has asked the Commission not to let the hook off the former Acting DG of FIIRO, who was accused of serial manipulations of his educational status upon which he had exploited the system for his personal fortunes.
Recall that Chima Igwe was caught in a web of dirty scam after submitting a Ph.D certificate that was later discovered to be false. The ICPC investigation had indicted him, howbeit, not a few Nigerians were shocked to note that Igwe still remains a key staff of the Institute.
Under the fake claim, he had worked for 18 years at the country’s foremost research institute rising through the ranks with the same forged document.
In the petition dated 7th June, 2021, addressed to ICPC, titled: “Prosecution of Mr Chima Igwe, for attaining the Position of Acting Director General of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research (FIIRO), Without Possessing the Pre-Requisite Qualification”, HEDA wants Igwe to return to government purse all earnings linked to the forged certificate.
“If the ICPC fails to prosecute him, we shall head to Court to ensure justice is done to the society which norms have been violated.
HEDA recalled that the “Claimed Degree” was subsequently investigated by ICPC and the findings of the investigation dated the 24th day of January 2020 with Reference number ICPC/SDD-TA/FMST-02/2020, was sent to the Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, the supervising ministry.
“It was upon this finding that Igwe was removed, after several public pressure, as the Acting Director-General of FIIRO, he was still retained as a staff of the Institute in the capacity of a Chief Research Officer.
“Igwe has under the pretense of having a Ph.D. degree for eighteen (18) years worked and attained several positions in the Institute up to being an Acting Director-General before his demotion by the Board after the lid was taken off the saucepan of corruption.
“Now Igwe has finally obtained his Ph.D. only in the year 2020 from the Universite Nationale du Benin (now Universite d’Abomey-Calavi), Benin Republic, the same University he claimed awarded his fake certificate 12 years back.
The anti corruption group recalled that before 2020 when Igwe got his Ph.D. degree, he had obtained salaries and promotions with a fake representation and deception at FIIRO, in Lagos State and by so, has contravened the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act and Section 105 of the Criminal Code Act.
“We request the ICPC to prosecute Mr. Chima Igwe for presenting an attestation letter in place of a Ph.D Certificate upon which he worked and gained several promotions in the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi, Lagos State and return into the government’s coffer, all salaries and allowances paid to Mr. Chima Igwe within the period he worked without having the requisite educational qualification (Ph.D Certificate).
“In the absence of action by the Commission, we shall approach the court to invoke the law to compel the ICPC to prosecute Chima Igwe,” the group said unequivocally.