Group alleges grand nepotism, corruption and mismanagement at NILEST

…calls for immediate sack of the DG

Igbo Youth Congress for Peace and Development, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) with a mandate for peace building and social justice, has called for the immediate sack of the current Director General of Nigerian Institute for Leather and Science Technology (NILEST), Prof. Mohammed Kabir Yakubu over what it described as grand nepotism, corruption and mismanagement of taxpayers money.

In a press release signed and made available to journalists in Abuja by the National Coordinator, Mazi Eric Joseph Dubem, the group expressed outrage over the failure of a world class institute like NILEST to place Nigeria on the world map as one of the exporters of hides and skin as well as a global leather industry destination.

According Mazi Eric, “Italy, a relatively small country in Europe has become a famous leather products exporter because of investment in research and innovations. They don’t even have as many livestock as we do but today everybody prefers to buy Italian shoes, bags, belts and other products. This is a sad and unacceptable scenario. Nigeria was a great exporter during the pre-colonial era, what has actually changed?”

The Igbo Youth Congress for Peace and Development equally alleged that, the inability to perform and score even a single point since the establishment of the Institute and especially under the present adminstration is solely because the Institute has become a cash cow to some persons especially the DG who has turned it into his estate, abandoning infrastructural development and research which is supposed to be at the heart of the institution.

“No single infrastructure has been developed for the Institute for a very long time now. The laboratories are derelict and habitats for rats and cockroaches. The classrooms have no modern teaching aids and staff offices are appalling. How can proper research take place in an environment that’s worse than a refuse dump. The DG should be immediately sacked to bring in someone who knows how to run a research institute”, the statement added.

The group recalled with nostalgia how NILEST which is located in the Northwest Geopolitical region has continued to operate in recent times as if it’s a Northwest solely for the north and not for any other region in the country, adding that federal character and fairness has been thrown to the dustbin with impunity as far as NILEST is concerned.

“We are worried that NILEST has become a regional institution. No single project belonging to the Institute has been sited elsewhere except in the northern part of the country. The recent plans to establish a 350 million naira Tannery in Daura, Katsina State has once again proven that NILEST has no regards for federal character. Are there no states in the South East or South South to establish such a gigantic project considering that the Institute is already in the Northwest?

“As the first Muslim occupying the post of Director General of NILEST, we expect Prof. Mohammed Kabir Yakubu to live by the holy tenets of Islam which are fairness, justice and peace but the reverse is the case. like Prof. If he as a northern Muslim has choosing to bastardize the Institute without minding that the northern region has the highest number of livestock and benefit greatly if the institute functionally optimally then it’s unfortunate”, the statement added.

The group noted that the Institute was established to harness the abundant potentials that came with a thriving livestock industry in Nigeria from where foreign exchange was earned and jobs created for millions of Nigerians. Rather than sustain the tempo, the Institute has only succeeded in draining taxpayers without any jobs or revenue to the country

“If the Institute had lived up to its mandate, more jobs, income and revenue would have been accruing to Nigerians and the Nigerian government. Unfortunately, the Institute has done nothing to engage youths and had not undertaken any training for youths in tanning or skinning. Imagine the millions of jobs that would have been created with the thousands of slaughters daily across the nation if at least 5000 youths were engaged in abattoirs across the country”, the statement added.

Investigations by our organisation have revealed that aside from corruption and nepotism, the current DG is academically unfit to head an Institute like NILEST. As a professor of textiles, it is unethical and his misplaced to appoint him as a DG where a professor of Animal Production or Animal Science should be working.

“As we renew our call for the immediate sacking of the current DG of NILEST, we want to add that Nigeria has gone past the stage where just anybody can be called an appointed to head a sensitive post without recourse to their professional know-how. There are many professors of Igbo extraction who are internationally renowned for their scholarship in the field of Animal Science and Materials Production. We can’t afford to continuing putting square pegs in round holes at this material time”, the statement added.

While we are confident that President Buhari will act swiftly and put an end to this anomaly, we call on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Code of Conduct Bureau to immediately swing into action and arrest Prof Mohammed Kabir for his recklessness and corruption before he changes the title deeds of the Institute into his personal name.

Let it be known that we are in touch with our legal team and a comprehensive petition has been drafted already. On Wednesday, rd of January 2023 we shall serve the EFCC with a copy of the petition as we continue to build a formidable case against the incumbent DG. At this juncture, nothing shall dissuade us from carrying on with this line of action as patriotic Nigerians. We shall continue to monitor developments at the Institute keenly and also watch the body language of the DG, Minister of Science and Technology as well as Mr. President.

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