Protesters At National Assembly Demand Probe, Sacking Of Director-General Of Industrial Training Fund

The groups called on the National Assembly to probe the ITF’s appropriation for 2021 as well as deny the agency of funds in 2022 until adequate explanations were given.

Civil society groups on Thursday held a protest at the National Assembly to demand the removal of the Director-General of the Industrial Training Fund, Joseph Ari, over what they described as his alleged history of corruption and highhandedness at the government agency.
The groups called on the National Assembly to probe the ITF’s appropriation for 2021 as well as deny the agency of funds in 2022 until adequate explanations were given.

Joseph Ari

The civil societies were led by the Concerned Citizens for Change, Accountability and Probity, and the Joint Civil Society Task Force on anti-corruption in Nigeria.
The protesters demanded the sack of the ITF’s director, saying this would make good the promises of the government to rid the country of corruption.
Speaking for the groups, Ibrahim Jalo, the chairman of the joint task force, said, “We are here to call the attention of Nigerians to the illicit transactions going on at the ITF under the leadership of Joseph Ari as the DG. We are not left in any doubt as to the complicity and flagrant abuse of office by Ari as the DG.
“Indeed, the patronage given to companies with the DG’s vested interests in the award of contracts is the greatest disservice to Nigerians. Again, these phantom projects were never executed. Hence the capital votes allocated to ITF remained unutilised; hence our call to the National Assembly is to suspend further budgetary allocations to the fund until the DG resigns or is removed.
“If the DG is not called to question, other public officers will follow suit and in all of this, it is Nigerians who will suffer. We have received so far 21 petitions against the DG on his abuse of office.”
“We are here at the National Assembly believing that as our representatives, you will not let us down in this fight,” the protesters added.
SaharaReporters had on July 21 reported that ITF workers accused the DG of nepotism and marginalisation.
It had been reported that Ari was also accused of awarding fraudulent contracts to family members without recourse to procedure and due process as well as illegally promoting female workers without regard for public service rules.
Speaking to SaharaReporters, a staff had alleged that the DG had been running the agency like a personal estate.
“Nepotism is at its peak in this agency as wrongful employment of Plateau State indigenes is the order of the day. We keep wondering why the President gave him a second term. He has turned the agency to his personal estate. He prefers to promote female workers for hidden reasons without regard for public service rules.
“Even his appointment did not follow due process. He ought not to be reappointed in the first place. He was first employed into ITF in 2006 as Deputy Director on a permanent and pensionable basis after retiring as a Permanent Secretary in the Plateau civil service,” one of the workers had said.

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