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Anti-graft CSO petitions President Tinubu over FERMA board’s over interference, demand for unlawful privileges 

Nigeria’s President, Tinubu

By our correspondent

Citizens Awareness Against Corruption and Social Vices Initiative (CAACASVI), an anti-corruption Civil Society Organisation (CSO), has written a petition to President Bola Tinubu over the board of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA)’s interference and demand for unlawful privileges.
 
A copy of the petition made available to newsmen on Thursday in Abuja, accused the FERMA board members of interference in the day-to-day running of the agency and conferring undue and unlawful privileges on themselves.
 
In the petition, signed by CAACASVI’s Executive Director, Mr Olumuyiwa Onlede, the CSO said that the attention of the organisation was drawn to the unlawful designation of office of the board members and the illegal conversion of the same to executive board members.
 
Onlede stated that Nigeria was a country that was governed by rules, laws, and regulations, and FERMA was not an exception.
 
The executive director pointed out that the FERMA Act, as passed by the National Assembly, was a legal document that defined the functions of the agency and the responsibilities of management staff appointed by the president.
 
He emphasised that the act was a document that no law-abiding citizen had the right to breach any section therein; it could only be repealed or altered by the parliament.
 
Onlede added that civil societies, as well as Nigerians frowned at the happenings within the agency where the governing board members decided to go outside their function and rights to demand office accommodation, personal assistants and secretarial staff in FERMA offices.
 
”We pray that the President should: Order the board members to familiarise themselves with the relevant laws governing their office and FERMA.
 
”To refrain from making unlawful requests and seeking privileges outside what is enshrined in the FERMA Establishment Act. 
 
“The President should call the minister to order and direct him to disband every committee set up for the purpose of looking into the demands of the board members as regards to office accommodation.
 
“That the President directs the Minister of Works, who is the supervising minister of FERMA, to order board members to desist from any act that suggests interference in the day-to-day running of FERMA,” the CSO prayed.
 
It insisted that interfering in the day-to-day running of the agency by the board could cause industrial disharmony within the agency.
 
According to CAACASVI, it is public knowledge that Nigeria is facing so many challenges, especially in the road infrastructure, but the problems are surmountable.

‘If those presiding over agencies of government, both at the executive and board levels, put the interests of the country above their personal interests.”
 
The CSO stated that it would continue to monitor the conduct of the board members with patriotic zeal.
 
It insisted that it would also monitor the implementation of their prayers, and if dissatisfied, it would explore every legal option to press home its demands.
 
It will be recalled that the senate had last year come under heavy criticisms for swearing in the board and referring to them as Executive Board members.

The Joint unions in FERMA had kicked against the announcement by Sen. Godswill Akpabio, the President of the Senate.

The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) and Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) made their position known in a letter addressed to Akpabio.

The letter, jointly signed by Mr Paul Onimisi, ASCSN Chairman and Mr Abdulmumin Idris, AUPCTRE Chairman, described the announcement by the senate president as discouraging and demoralising to the staff of the agency.

“The appointment of some members as executive board members to eventually take over the running of the departments is contrary to FERMA Act, and detrimental to the career progression of employees of the agency.

“It will not serve the agency any good in achieving its mandate.

“The appointment of some persons as executive board members is contrary to the provisions of Section 2(2) of the FERMA Act as amended and career progression within government agencies.

“It is counter productive and demoralising for career officers as the intention is for the executive board members to take over from career officers who are running departments.

“We urge you respectfully, distinguished Senate President, to confirm the appointment of members of the board in accordance with the Act that created the board.

“To do otherwise is to usher in a chain of events that will disrupt the structure of the Agency, derail its mandate and demoralise the workers,” the unions maintained.

The unions’ executives said the direct consequence of making some members of the board executive members to head departments was to derail the agency because workers would not support it.

The union leaders emphasised that particular adverse result of the contraption of making some board members executive board members was the creation of a board within a board.

They added that such would drive the agency in contra-direction in terms or its mandate.

“An urgent clarion call is hereby made for the immediate reversal of this illegality, to forestall looming anarchy this contraption may cause,” the unions stated in the letter aimed at drawing Tinubu’s attention to the anomaly.”

The CSO said it was clear that all the fears expressed by unions and others, we’re clearly coming into play.

It therefore stressed the need for the government, as a matter of urgency, take steps to address the issue.

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