Staff of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi, Lagos, picketed the company on Monday to protest the certificate forgery of the Acting Director-General, Dr Chima Igwe.
Igwe was alleged to have forged his doctorate qualification to enable him occupy the position.
It was gathered that Igwe was being backed by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, who has promised that he would be confirmed as substantive DG of the research institute.
Igwe had claimed to have obtained a PhD certificate from the Universite D’Abomey Calavi, Benin Republic.
To back his claim, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission was drafted to investigate the case concluded and sent a document to the Ministry of Science and Technology stating that Igwe truly obtained a PhD certificate.
Following the ICPC’s clearance, the ministry also wrote the governing board of FIIRO, saying Igwe had a PhD certificate.
PUNCH had in September 2019 reported that Igwe, more than 17 years after claiming to have bagged a doctorate at Universite d’Abomey-Calavi, could not produce a certificate to back his claim.
The newspaper also revealed that officers of the Benin Republic varsity said they never told the Nigerian authorities that Igwe graduated, noting that there might be a grand plot to cover up the fraudulent doctorate qualification.
During the protest on Monday, staff demanded that Igwe makes public his thesis as evidence of him obtaining a PhD certificate.
One staff, who spoke with our correspondent and asked not to be named, claimed that it was not out of place for them to demand that Igwe makes public his PhD certificate or resign immediately.
The staff said, “When the Ag. DG of FIIRO, Chima Igwe, claimed to have bagged a PhD since 2002 from University d'Abimey-Calavi in Benin Republic with no thesis or certificate to show for it, is it too much for workers to ask for such when it became an issue of public interest and damaging FIIRO's image?
“The whole world has been asking the same question for years especially since January 2019.
“The staff of FIIRO have simply asked Igwe to present his thesis and certificate to save the image of FIIRO or step aside since he is being investigated to allow for fair and just investigation as provided for in the public service rule.”
The protesting staff claimed that the Minister of Science and Technology and Igwe were working together to perpetrate corrupt acts including financial misappropriations in FIIRO.