Senate summons HoS over NIEPA’s relocation to Abuja

The Senate has mandated its Committee on Establishment and Public Service to invite the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs Folasade Yemi-Esan, over moves to relocate the National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration from Ondo State to Abuja.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, confirmed this to our correspondent in Abuja on Friday.

He said contrary to widespread reports, the Senate in plenary on Wednesday did not reject the recommendations of his panel seeking to stop the planned relocation of NIEPA to Abuja.

The decision by the chamber to intervene in the leadership feud followed the consideration of a report by the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions during plenary.

The committee’s report was based on a petition received by the upper chamber against the Director-General of the institute, Prof Olivet Jagusah, for abandoning his duty post and operating from Abuja.

Akinyelure, in his presentation, said one Alhaji Haruna Yahaya accused the Director-General of NIEPA of gross misconduct and deliberate attempts to frustrate and humiliate former principal officers of the institute by scrapping their offices.

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The lawmaker said the petitioner also accused the DG and the Governing Council of violating the rule of seniority in public service by appointing Mrs Abimbola Fayanju as the acting registrar of the institute over her senior colleague, Dr Olaolu Festus.

He added that despite the expiration of Fayanju’s tenure three years ago, no attempt was made to replace her.

The lawmaker said the petitioner also accused the DG of making clandestine arrangements for the relocation of the institute from Ondo State to Abuja, an action which he described as a disservice to the state.

He, however, said Prof Jagusah in his submission to the Ethics and Privileges Committee, said he was appointed as Chief Executive of NIEPA by the Federal Ministry of Education with the approval of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) on June 1, 2020.

He said his appointment as the DG witnessed stiff resistance and protests by some individuals from the institute who organised a blockade against him and that the action affected his assumption of duty.

Jagusah said for three months after he assumed duty, he stayed in a hotel because there was no apartment for him to live in around the school.

He explained further that the idea of relocating the institute to Abuja was mooted by his predecessor, Prof Lilian Salami, through a letter with reference No. NIEPA/LANREQ/001 dated March 20, 2017, and addressed to the Minister, Federal Ministry of Education.

He said based on the idea of relocating the institute, correspondences were exchanged between the Federal Ministry of Education, Federal Capital Territory Administration and the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Disposal of Assets forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria for possible allocation to NIEPA.

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