A National Industrial Court of Nigeria, sitting in Abuja, has prevented the Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Prof. Garba Hamidu Sharubutu, from conducting interviews for the position of Provost, Federal College of Veterinary and Medical Laboratory Technology, Vom, Jos.

The Court also barred the Honourable Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Mahmoud Abubakar, from going ahead with the aptitude test for 9 applicants, who were shortlisted for the Provost position, slated to hold at the College premises, Jos on Thursday, 2nd September, 2021.

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A staff at the Ministry's registry, Abuja, confirmed the receipt of the Court Order on Wednesday evening.

A copy of the Order signed by Justice Bashar Alkali, obtained by SaharaReporters on Thursday read in part:

"I grant an order of interim injunction, restraining the Defendants/Respondents, their agents, privies, howsoever called, from proceeding with the scheduled interview/aptitude test/Examination to fill up the office of the Provost, Federal College of Veterinary and Medical Laboratory Technology, Vom, Plateau State (FCVLT), scheduled to hold on the 2nd day of September, 2021, pending the hearing and determination of motion of notice for interlocutory injunction.

"I also grant an order of interim injunction restraining the Defendants/Respondents, their agents, privies, howsoever called, from suspending, removing or terminating the appointment of the Claimant/Applicant without following due process of law, pending the hearing and determination of the motion for interlocutory injunction."

Justice Alkali, it was gathered, made the Order, upon entertaining a motion exparte from the Applicant, Dr. Joseph Okwori, who is the current Provost of the College, on Tuesday, 31st August, 2021, through his Counsel, Barr. Dayo Oshonibare.

Dr. Okwori was reportedly appointed as the Provost on the 2nd July, 2018, through a letter of appointment signed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Abdukadir Mu'azu, for a period of 5 years.

A paragraph from the letter of appointment obtained by this read:

"Consequently, your appointment which will run for a single period of (5) five years now takes effect from 2nd July, 2018. This is in recognition of your dedication and commitment to service delivery as well as your immense contribution to the development of the Green Alternative Program (GAP). 

"It is expected that you would continue to lay a solid foundation for the implementation of the Mandate/objectives of the College in accordance with extant laws and other subsisting Rules and Regulations."

But barely 3 years into his office, the Ministry, through the ARCN, advertised for a new Provost and went ahead to shortlist 9 candidates for Thursday's interview.

The matter has been adjourned till September 14, for hearing of the motion for interlocutory injunction.

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