The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has been asked not to let off the hook a former acting Director, Federal Institute of Industrial Research (FIIRO), Oshodi, Lagos State, Mr. Chima Igwe, who was accused of serial manipulation of his educational status to exploit the system for personal gains.
The former FIIRO acting Director was caught in a web of dirty scams after submitting a Doctor of Philosophy certificate that was later discovered to be fake.
The ICPC investigation indicted him but many Nigerians were shocked to note that Igwe remained a key staff member of the institute.
Under the false claim, he had worked for 18 years at the country’s foremost research institute rising through the ladder with the same forged document.
In a petition dated June 7, 2021, and addressed to the ICPC, Nigeria’s leading anti-corruption group, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), says Igwe must return to the government’s purse all earnings linked to the forged certificate.
The petition titled, “Prosecution of Mr. Chima Igwe for attaining the position of Acting Director-General of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research without possessing the Pre-Requisite Qualification,” was signed by HEDA's Chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju.
HEDA noted that if the ICPC failed to prosecute him, it would head to court to ensure justice was done to the society whose norms had been violated.
HEDA's lead researchers had unravelled the scam following months of investigation by the group's diligent research team.
The issue indeed became a national embarrassment.
HEDA recalled that the degree was subsequently investigated by ICPC and the findings of the investigation dated January 24, 2020, with reference number ICPC/SDD-TA/FMST-02/2020 was sent to the Minister of Science and Technology, the supervising ministry.
It was upon this finding that Igwe was removed, after much public pressure, as the Acting Director-General of FIIRO but he was still retained as a staff member of the institute in the capacity of a Chief Research Officer.
Suraju said Igwe has under the pretense of having a PhD degree for eighteen (18) years worked and attained several positions in the institute up to being an Acting Director-General before his demotion by the Board after the lid was taken off the saucepan of corruption.
“Igwe has finally obtained his PhD only in the year 2020 from the Universite Nationale du Benin (now Universite d’Abomey-Calavi), Benin Republic, the same university he claimed awarded his fake certificate 12 years back.
“Before 2020 when Igwe got his PhD degree, he had obtained salaries and promotions with a fake representation and deception at FIIRO, in Lagos State and by so, has contravened the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act and Section 105 of the Criminal Code Act.
“We request the ICPC to prosecute Mr. Chima Igwe for presenting an attestation letter in place of a PhD Certificate upon which he worked and gained several promotions in the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi, Lagos State and return into the government’s coffers all salaries and allowances paid to Mr. Chima Igwe within the period he worked without having the requisite educational qualification (PhD Certificate).”
The group said, in the absence of action by the commission, it would invoke the law to compel the ICPC to prosecute Igwe.