Chris Steven, Abuja
The Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to wade into the ongoing crisis rocking the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Ibadan, Oyo state by ordering the immediate sack of the Executive Director of the institute, Professor Malachy Akoroda.
It also wants the President to order the prosecution of the immediate former chairman of Board of CRIN, Chief Francis Fadahunsi for his role in the October 22, 2013 attack and matcheting of two workers of the institute by sponsored thugs.
The association said the demand for Professor Akoroda’s sack became imperative due to persistent harassment, intimidation, denial of rights and acts of impunity which it said have become the order of the day in CRIN.
The institute has been shut down since last week over demonstration by members of Idi Ayunre community where it is located over the crisis that has pitched the management of the institutions against workers’ unions there.
At least two members of staff of the institute were reportedly injured when thugs believed to be working for Chief Fadahunsi invaded the Idi Ayunre premises of the institute.
General Secretary of the association, Comrade Moshood Akinade at a press conference in Abuja yesterday said the President must act decisively on the crises ravaging the institute for the sake of industrial peace.
Comrade Akinade who read the 22-point demands of the association said there must also be an immediate deproscription of three unions in CRIN: SSAUTHRIAI, NASU and ASURI which according to him was wrongfully done through a forged letter of authority dated October 8, 2013 with Ref No SGF. 251/51.4115/20/107 from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
The forged letter, he added was also used to suspend four directors of the institute.
The association which also indicted the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwumi Adeshina for influencing the appointment of Professor Akoroda despite not being the best during the interview for candidates into the position of CRIN Executive Director also demanded that the President should constitute an Administrative Panel of Inquiry to ask for the release of the report of Administrative Panel of Inquiry instituted by former president Goodluck Jonathan over the appointment of the CRIN’s Executive Director.
While further alleging that Professor Akoroda’s appointment was tainted by irregularities, it also asked for the appointment of Dr. (Mrs) F.A Okelana who it said came first at the interview conducted by the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) noting that the report of the interview was rejected by the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“The Kangaroo interview organized in the office of the Hon. Minister produced Professor Akoroda as the Executive Director of CRIN, Ibadan. Sadly, in his continued act of impunity, Professor Akoroda has relegated Dr. Okelana and gave her portfolio to her junior, Dr. Famaye. In effect, she has remained redundant.
I think Mr. President should have been able to find time, 136 days after our letter on the subject matter was delivered to the Presidency to look into this matter. At the moment, CRIN is closed down because of the demonstration by the people of the community. They have never seen such impunity since the establishment of CRIN in 1957″ he said