Lucky Obukohwo, Reporting
A group on the aegis of Benin National Congress has dragged the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) to court over the appointment of its principal officers.
The claimants are Mr. Aiyamenkhue Edokpolo, Mr. Maxwell Uwagboe and Mr. Patrick Edebor while the respondents are Attorney General of the Federation, the Hon. Minister of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe (Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security).
Others are Prof. Garba Hamidu Sharubutu(Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) and the Nigeria Institute For Oil Palm Research (NIFOR).
In a suit no:FHC/B/CS/99/23, the claimants are seeking an order of Certiorari; quashing all proceedings an/or decisions of the Screening Committee purportedly set up and/or conducted on 12th and 14th October, 2023 to select a Director (Executive Officer) for the 5th respondent for want of competence.
The claimants are also seeking an order of prohibition against the respondents from constituting and/or further constituting and/or setting up any screening Committee to conduct any interview and/or examination to select a Director (Chief Executive Officer) for the institute until the procedure and constitution shall be cured of every irregularity; whatsoever and however.
The claimants, while stating eight grounds as part of their claims, said the committee set up to screen the principal officers into the various positions was purportedly constituted without regards to a subsisting judgement of a competent court of law and/or appeal therefrom.
This judgement/or appeal, the claimants said, dwell on the subject matter of this application to wit: the tenure, vacancy and/or otherwise of the office of the Director (Chief Executive Officer) of the 5th respondent.
While adding more facts in support of their claims, they said the committee was set up without the inputs of critical stakeholders in the Federal Government of Nigeria like the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC), Human Resource Management Department of the Ministry of Agriculture as well as the Head of Service of the Federation.
They said the inclusion and inputs of the critical stakeholders and/or is imperative to secure the impartiality and/or credibility of the said screening exercise for an objective selections ultimately.
They added that curiously, the office of the Minister, vested with the prerogative to appoint the institute’s Director was vacant when the Permanent Secretary hurriedly and surreptitiously hatched and executed a sham committee of screening and examination to achieve a preconceived end.
They added that, buoyed by their concerns and interest in the Institute, they have decided to petitioned the Minister and called for the nullification of the sham screening exercise.