PRODA Workers hail Acting DG for exposing corruption

By AdvocateNews on 07/03/2021

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Workers and Union leaders at the Project Development Institution (PRODA), a foremost research institution in Enugu, have applauded the courage of the Acting Director General (DG), Dr. Fabian Okonkwo for exposing the deep-seated corruption and contract racketeering in the Institute.

 

They alleged that the Institute which was formerly the research and development arm of the defunct Republic of Biafra, before the Federal Government converted it to a research institution after the civil war, had been bedeviled by corruption which was responsible for its stunted growth over the years.

 

The Union leaders and workers spoke in a mini rally to welcome the Acting DG on arrival at the office after visiting a probe committee of the House of Representatives in Abuja, alongside the board and management of PRODA.

 

Chairman of Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research and Allied Institutions (SSAUTHRAI) in PRODA, Mr. Gabriel Ohiomi and leaders of other sister unions condemned the alleged witch-hunting of the Acting DG of PRODA for exposing the rot in the research institution.

 

Ohiomi said, “We want to thank you all for coming out enmass to welcome our indefatigable Acting DG. A lot has been said within the media space, a lot has been said to malign his person but we remain unbowed and unbroken. He stands for the truth, our Acting DG is a man of integrity, and nobody anywhere can soil his name because of some powerful persons in politics who have interest in PRODA.

 

“This is to assure you that the whole population of PRODA is solidly behind you, they are aware of the good things you are doing, they are aware of the feathers you are ruffling…”

 

Other union leaders, including Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI) Reform Group, and Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCN), said the Acting DG was doing a good job but that the suspended DG, Dr. Charles Agulana, who is currently facing financial probe, and some federal lawmakers who are alleged beneficiaries of contracts from the Institution, were working to scuttle the good works of the Acting DG, “at the expense of Nigerians.”

 

It will be recalled that the research institution has been facing industrial strife, allegations of official corruption and under development, which resulted in the federal government suspending the DG, Dr. Agulana and appointing Dr. Okonkwo to act in his stead. 

 

But the House of Representatives also commenced investigations into the accumulated rot in the Institution leading to the invitation of the Institute’s Acting DG, management and board; and where the Acting DG opened a can of worms including allegation that some federal lawmakers were major beneficiaries of unexecuted contracts in the establishment.

 

According to the workers during the solidarity rally, "billions of naira has been embezzled in PRODA through contract scam, making the Institution one of the Agencies in Nigeria that has failed the country".

 

"We should ask, where are the new tools, pencils, modern machines, carbonised coal, I.C engine, and hydro turbines which projects in the Institute had the tag. Also, we should ask for the rural electrification projects, road projects, etc which PRODA executed from 2013 to date.

 

"These are issues and questions that should call for answers".

 

The Union leaders alleged that in most projects in PRODA, the previous management used cronies, relations and those in the National Assembly for such executions.

 

"The staff is praising the acting DG for his boldness so far in divulging the truth without fear.

 

"98 percent of staff of PRODA are happy for the liberation journey initiated by the acting DG by revealing the secrets being hidden in PRODA," they said. 

 

The workers displayed various placards with solidarity messages and sand solidarity songs, including, “Freedom comes by struggle”. 

Posted 07/03/2021 2:34:09 PM

 

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