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FIIRO Appoints New Acting Director-General

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The Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi, Lagos (FIIRO), has appointed Agnes Asagbra as the new acting Director-General, Concise News reports.

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The institute made this known in a statement signed by a director at the institute, O Akinfire,  and made available to reporters in Lagos on Tuesday.

The statement said that Asagbara, who holds a doctorate degree in food and industrial microbiology from the University of Ibadan, replaces Chima Igwe who has been involved in a certificate scandal.

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According to the statement, Asagbara’s appointment was approved by the governing board and was with immediate effect.

The director said the acting DG is to oversee the activities of FIIRO pending the appointment of a substantive DG.

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This news medium reports that the institute has been embroiled in a controversy over the Ph.D. certificate of the former acting DG.

Igwe had said he obtained a doctorate degree from the Universite d’Abomey-Calavi, Benin Republic, but he did not have a certificate to show for it.

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Igwe also failed to present his PhD certificate 17 years after submitting a letter of attestation from the university.

Before his appointment as the acting DG in May 2020, the board of the institute had written to the supervising ministry of science and technology, stating that Igwe was unable to prove that he has a doctorate degree, a prerequisite not only for such appointment, but also for the promotion of senior officers.

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Although Igwe was the most senior official at the time Gloria Elemo, the former DG, left, the board asked the ministry to consider someone else for the position, a recommendation that seemed to have been ignored fueling speculation that he was enjoying political protection.

Following a petition by officials of the institute, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) had investigated the claim of Igwe.

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Two days ago, the agency announced that the former acting DG was not awarded a PhD degree as he claimed.

In a statement, Rasheedat Okoduwa, spokesperson of the anti-graft agency, said investigation showed that Igwe actually completed the three-year programme between 1999 and 2002, and wrote his thesis.

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However, she said he did not defend the thesis, and so cannot be said to have been awarded a PhD. She said the university disclosed this in a letter to the Nigerian Mission in Benin dated January 22, 2020.

In the letter, the institution reportedly said it had given the former FIIRO acting DG, at his request, a chance to update his research results in the 2020/2020 academic year.

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“It stands to reason, therefore, that if the PhD programme was concluded there would have been no need for Igwe to request re-registration,” Okoduwa said.

“The Commission is firmly of the opinion that he cannot be said to have been awarded a PhD since he is yet to complete the process of defence of his thesis 18 years after he is said to have finished the course work.

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“By global standards, the successful defence of a thesis is a compulsory condition for the award of a PhD.

“Therefore, in line with its avowed commitment to discharging its duties with professionalism and responsibility, the Commission has since communicated its most recent findings and position to the relevant authorities for necessary action.”

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