The federal government has approved the dissolution of the governing council of Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER) Ibadan, Oyo State.
The development comes amidst allegations of fraud and incompetence by Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the institute against its Director-General, Folarin Gbadebo-Smith.
NISER is a public research institute located in Ibadan, with a mission to provide information on economic and social ideas that will be pivotal to the nation’s development.
Its products and activities include publications of conference proceedings and research findings, organising of training workshops, and seminars.
According to the letter addressed to the Chairman of the governing council, Muhammad Bashar, on April 27, the dissolution is a result of the expiration of his led council.
The letter was sent by the federal ministry of finance, budget and national planning. It was marked MBNP/AB/SEC/2705/Vol.1/36 and signed by the ministry’s permanent secretary, Olusola Idowu.
“You may wish to recall that the Governing Board of NISER which was inaugurated on 8th March, 2018 by the Honourable Minister of Budget and National Planning following the approval of Mr. President, has now expired in accordance with the First Schedule, Section 1(4) of the supplementary provision of its establishment Act.
“The Act provides for a Term of three (3) years for the Chairman of the Council and members to hold Office subject to either re-appointment for another 3-year Term or re-constitution.
“In effect, the inaugurated Council ceases to have constitutional powers to carry out such responsibilities/functions as specified in Section 3(a)-(c) of the Act. Consequently, I write to bring the foregoing to your information and to state that all functions hitherto performed by the Governing Council including holding of meetings, etc stands suspended indefinitely pending the re-appointment or otherwise.
“The Honourable Minister of State appreciates the invaluable services rendered by the Governing Council Members during your tenure and wishes them well in their future engagements,” the letter read.
The Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions, Muyiwa Babatimehin; Chairman, Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals and Research Institutions, Mathew Olagunju; and Chairman, Non-Academic Staff Union, Theophilus Tubi had on March 19, written the governing council to investigate the institute’s DG, Mr Gbadebo-Smith.
The workers also sent the petition to the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).
The governing council earlier initiated a process of investigating Mr Gbadebo-Smith before its dissolution.
It is not clear whether the latest development will truncate the investigation. The dissolved governing council chairman, Mr Bashar, did not respond to requests for comments.
Mr Gbadebo-Smith on his part had earlier said “he is not interested in speaking with the press” on the allegations.
He said this was because an investigative panel has been set up by the Minister of State for National Planning on “controversies generated by promotion, research and publication inadequacies at the institute.”