The Lagos State Police Command has summoned leaders of the three unions at the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi, for protesting against the controversial doctorate of the acting Director-General, Chima Igwe.
Our correspondent obtained copies of the letters served on the Chairman of the Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions, Togunde Mumeen; and Chairman of the Non-Academic Staff Union, Florence Ogunleye.
The letters, dated January 28, 2020, were signed by one ACP Odubona Oludotun for the Commissioner of Police, Department of Operations.
According to the letters, the union leaders would meet with the state Commissioner of Police at Ikeja on Wednesday.
It was reliably gathered that the Ministry of Science and Technology had wanted to deploy policemen FIIRO to crackdown on the protesters, but was advised against the action.
Instead, the union leaders were reportedly summoned to the police headquarters because they were the arrowhead of the call for the suspension of Igwe.
FIIRO has been embroiled in a crisis over Igwe’s inability to produce a certificate to back his PhD claim, which he said he got 18 years ago in the Benin Republic.
Although the matter is still a subject of an investigation by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, findings by The PUNCH revealed that the 57-year-old lied.
Authorities of the Universite d’Abomey-Calavi, Benin Republic, where he claimed to have studied, said Igwe abandoned the programme and he had yet to defend his thesis.
His supervisor, in particular, Prof. Mansour Moudachirou, explained that he would not get a certificate until he completed his programme.
FIIRO workers started a protest two weeks ago, calling for the suspension of Igwe in accordance with extant public service rules.
They accused the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, of supporting him and refusing to apply the rules.
The governing board was said to have forwarded a report on the crisis to Onu after a three-hour meeting with him in Abuja last Tuesday.
The ministry sent a delegation to Lagos on Monday to dialogue with the workers, but the meeting failed.
As of press time, the union leaders were on their way to answering the police invitation.
“We will not be intimidated, no matter what happens,” one of the leaders told The PUNCH on the phone.