Months after he assumed duty as the director-general of the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), Ibadan, human rights organisation, Concerned Group, has asked President Bola Tinubu to reverse the appointment of Dr Zacharia Yaduma, as helmsman of the institute.
The group, it would be recalled, had in April 2023 kicked against his appointment, calling on then President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse it.
The group had, in the petition signed by Kelvin Onaolapo and Wasiu Olatiregun, the President and Secretary, respectively, described the appointment as “a back-door appointment”.
Insisting that Yaduma should be made to step aside, the petitioners, said his appointment violated the extant law of the institute. They added that it has failed anything that could be described as moral, just and fair.
The petitioners said it became necessary to let the public know again since a new leadership has emerged both at the executive and legislative arms of government in the country.
“The initial letter we wrote to the then president, we copied the National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives), Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Department of State Security (DSS), Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and the Media.
A copy of the previous letter handed to the media over the weekend titled: “Criminal Subversion of Due Process in the Appointment of New Director-General for Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), Ibadan,” urged the president to urgently reverse what was described as “illegal and criminal act and allow the appointment process to start afresh.
“It is only by that that morale would not be killed, hard work would not be discouraged and industrial unrest would not be incubated,” they said.
Onaolapo and Olatiregun decried what they described as “the ambush of the appointment process put in place by the management of the institute”.
The appointment, the duo said, was “in flagrant violation of the extant law and any known principle of decency, integrity, discipline and morality.
“Here is a man, who apart from not being a professor, there’s no record of his application for the post during the window of application, not to talk of being shortlisted for an interview, as there was no process, nor any interview was conducted anywhere.
“What a criminal subversion of due process and what a lopsided, reckless and impudent appointment?
“By the appointment, caution was thrown to the winds and due process served to the dogs on the altar of impunity and lack of consideration for the feelings of fellow beings,” they said.
The institute, with the provision of the legal framework through the 2018 FRIN Establishment Act, “enables research scientists of the institute to adopt Professorial Cadre.
“Since the coming into being of the Act in 2018, no fewer than six Research Scientists had been promoted to the Professorial Cadre and many Associate Research Scientist Professors produced.
“Section 6 (2) of the same Act stipulates that the Institute should be headed by a Research Scientist Professor.
“A layman interpretation of the law quoted above is that a non-scientist researcher has no business aspiring to lead the institute, just as Professors from the universities are also excluded.
“And with in-house six Research Scientist Professors and many Associate Research Scientist Professors, FRIN has no dearth of qualified and legally sanctioned personnel to lead the institute,” the group said.