Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies (SSASCGOC) and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), Industrial Training Fund (ITF) chapter have dismissed as false and totally baseless the allegation made against Industrial Training Fund (ITF) including allegations of a fraudulent award of a contract.
In a petition to the Minister of Trade and Investment, a group christened the Northern Human Rights Group (NHRG) accused the management of the ITF of lopsided employment, contract inflation, and the indiscriminate award of contracts to friends and cronies, among other allegations.
In a swift reaction to the allegations, the spokesperson of the two unions, Mallam Othman Balarebe, at a press conference in Jos, Plateau State, dismissed all the allegations, adding that they were baseless and conspired to tarnish the image of the Chief Executive of the organization, Sir Joseph Ari, and the management.
He narrated that the processes concerning the award of contracts in the ITF are followed by the latter and expressed concern that the group behind the allegation did not cite any instance of such alleged infractions.
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“We are amazed that it did not cite any instance of such alleged infractions. Indeed, because of its transparent adherence to procedures and due process in its affairs, the ITF was ranked among the top five of over 500 agencies of the Federal Government that were surveyed in 2020 in terms of service delivery, transparency, and integrity.
“It is equally spurious and quite laughable that a man that is described by most stakeholders as ‘the architect of the modern ITF’ and ‘Mr. Infrastructure,’ who has virtually transformed the ITF both in terms of its ability to actualize its mandate and its physical infrastructure, is being accused of ‘outright diversion of funds and mandate deviation.’
“It is public knowledge that since the assumption of office of the Director-General, he has initiated several skills acquisition programs that have equipped thousands of Nigerians with relevant technical skills and empowered them with start-up kits to start their businesses.”
On the alleged lopsided appointments, Balarebe pointed out that the last recruitment made by the fund was in 2019, while the necessary approvals were obtained and the quota system was duly followed in accordance with the directive of the Federal Character Commission.
“From 2019 to date, there has been no other recruitment. We, as the unions, will be the first to complain should there be any attempt to subvert the process in favor of others. Anybody familiar with the ITF will attest that the ITF unions are reputed for their activism.
“Having witnessed the process of our promotion exercise, the FMITI adjudged our exercise as one of the best and therefore, directed the Fund to prepare a template that will be adopted by other agencies under the Ministry,” the union said.