Disquiet in Nimet over resumption of new Director General

Prof Sani Abubakar Mashi

Prof Sani Abubakar Mashi

There is apprehension in the Nigerian Metrological Agency (Nimet) over the inability of the new Director General of the Agency, Prof Sani Abubakar Mashi from assuming duties.

The Guardian learnt that the letter appointing Prof Mashi directed him to resume duties on the 9th January, 2017 but that has been overturned by the Ministry of Aviation. The Ministry has issued another letter to Mashi directed him to resume on the 25th March, 2017 after under-study the out-going Director General who is expected to proceed on terminal leave on the same date.

It was alleged that the out-going Director General Dr Anthony Anuforom runs the Agency like a sole administrator as only two directorates have substantive directors out of six.

Indeed, the Director of Legal Services, Ahmed Abdul, who is said to be a consultant and Director Finance and Account, Mr. R.G Jigah, are the two substantive directors.The other four directorates have General Managers (deputy directors), who have been waiting to be promoted directors are: Joseph Alozie (Climate Services), Ibrahim Ishaku (Weather Services), Zakarihan (Network), Nsa (Strategy, Planning and Policy) P&P), Atang (Procurement), Ngobkpore (Engineering).

The delay in the resumption of Prof Mashi is raising fears among the staffers who believe it could be a ploy to bring in new directors to fill the vacant directorate positions, which have been left unfilled for a few years now.

Undeniably, this belief is fueled by the declaration of Anuforom who was alleged to have said there are no qualified candidates to fill the vacant positions.A source close to developments in Nimet said: “Anuforom has spent 10 years in Nigeria Metrological Agency (Nimet) as the Director General and Chief Executive. He said about three years ago that there were no suitable workers to fill the existing vacancies in the agency. And yet this is a place that no regular promotion takes place. In fact, we had to fight for promotions that were due in 2013 in 2015. That came two years after. The same goes for 2016 when we had to fight for 2014 and 2015 promotions to take place. Indeed, the ministry had to set up a committee to correct the career progression of staff to be in line with extant rules that guide promotions.”

While there has been no explanation from the Ministry of Aviation on what informed the deferment of the new Chief Executive’s resumption, it is surprising what Prof Mashi is expected to learn from Dr Anuforom for three months when political appointments normally take immediate effect.

The source added: “The question is that the law that establishes Nimet says the appointment of the Chief Executive would be done by the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces (herein the President).

“When does a political appointment subjected to the civil service rule that needs a three-month terminal leave? What is there in Nimet that a chief executive whose job is to oversee and coordinate the activities of the agency is subjected to under-study before he can take over the office?”

The Guardian learnt that the workers are frustrated by the out-going Chief Executive who was said to have not conducted promotion examination periodically and has not promoted any of the General Manager to the rank of director.

The workers are said to be restive and are considering embarking on an industrial action but for the in-house union that is urging patience. The Guardian also gathered that coming from Katsina state where both the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika and President Muhammadu Buhari come from might be what is holding Prof Mashi back as meanings may be read into his actions if he insists on assuming duties.

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