President Muhammadu Buhari has terminated the appointment of Hajiya Saratu Umar as the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), with immediate effect, amidst allegations of mismanagement.
In a directive to the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo CON, the President also mandated the most senior Director in the Commission to immediately take over in the interim.
Hajiya Saratu Umar was first appointed to the position in July, 2014. Less than a year later, in May 2015, she was sacked by the then President Goodluck Jonathan as the Chief Executive Officer of Commission. In July 2016, Buhari reappointed her as NIPC Boss.
It will be recalled that directors of NIPC had petitioned the minister of industry, trade and investment, over alleged continuous maltreatment and breach of the extant laws governing the federal civil service by Ms Umar, asking him to act fast in order to save the Commission from collapsing.In a petition dated March 7, 2023, made available to this medium signed by Hajja Gana Wakil, Mr John Oseji, Mr James Akwada, Mr Abubakar Yerima , A P. Okala (Esq) and Mr Umar Bello, all NIPC directors and also addressed to Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Minister of Labour and Employment, National Security Adviser , Chief of Staff to Mr President, Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Nigerian Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress, the directors lamented “that over the last few months, Umar has not worked with any of them but rather, she minutes all matters to subordinates of her choice directly.”
“Other allegations include; not assigning any director to oversee the Commission in her most recent trip to Japan on 24 January 2023. Instead, she appointed a deputy director to oversee the Commission, expunging the names of the petitioners from the list of NIPC staff for the 2023 management and senior cadre training.
“Not holding any tenders board meeting with directors rather undertaking all procurements without the knowledge of the directors, or even the head of procurement, setting up a committee chaired by Shiru Abdullahi, a Deputy Director, to review promotions of staff and directors, posting professionals among the directors (James Akwada, Patience Okala ,and Umar Bello) outside their areas of professional competence in violation of NIPC’s approved structure by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF) and the Public Service Rules.”
Umar was said to have also failed to hold promotion examinations in 2022 , despite the fact that management’s preparations towards the organisation of the 2021 and 2022 promotion examinations were well underway before her re-appointment.
The petitioners further disclosed that other prominent actions by the ES that has impacted negatively on the fortunes of the agency include; delay in treating correspondences (regarding requests for critical business information and NIPC’s intervention on issues affecting investments) from all stakeholders.