Friday, 22 September 2017

Disquiet in NAFDAC, as acting DG stays put

There was disquiet yesterday at the  National Agency for Foods and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) over the continue stay in office of its Acting Director General (DG), Mrs. Yetunde Oni.

Mrs. Oni, who is presently out of the country, was due to have bowed out of office yesterday, after clocking 60 years.

According to an internal memo dated 2010, the acting DG, who hails from Ogun State, was born on September 21, 1957.

The mandatory retirement age for a civil servant is 60 years.

She has been on acting capacity since February last year when President Muhammadu  Buhari sent packing heads and boards of agencies under the Ministry of Health.

The President had since appointed substantive heads for the other agencies. Mrs. Oni is still holding forth in NAFDAC, even after reaching the mandatory retirement age.

Besides, the government is yet to extend her stay, which has prompted some grumbling among workers.

The Nation learnt from sources that “Mrs. Oni does not seem to be stepping down and this may likely pitched the workers against the management of the agency”.

She had already scheduled a management meeting for September 29 – three days after her expected return to the country.

Already, workers are becoming agitated on the situation in the agency.

According to findings, some of the workers are planning to disrupt activities at the agency, if the acting DG fails to do the needful.

 The workers were also concerned on who would take over from her pending the time the government will appoint a substantive director-general.

A source in the agency, who spoke to The Nation, noted that the acting DG proceeded on a foreign trip, when she knew she was due for retirement.

The source, who pleaded anonymity, noted that “matter was even made worse as she is out of the country for a seminar or conference, when she knew that by law, she was supposed to have proceeded  on retirement leave.

“To make matter worse, the director she handed over to before embarking on her foreign trip is not the most senior in the agency.”

According to her memo to the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics (PRS), Mr. Adebayo Babatunde Samson, a copy which was obtained by our correspondent,   the Acting Director General stated: “I will be out on official assignment from 18th-26th September, 2017. During the period of my absence, you will act for me and therefore cover my duties.

“You are authorised to sign all cheques and approve requests for payment for which I had earlier given approval. This also applies to all approvals given by the Honourable Minister, the President and other relevant authorities.

“You are also to approve new requests for payment for all utility bills and others not exceeding the sum of N2.5 million in line with extant rules.”

An attempt to get a reaction from the agency’s spokesperson, Mr. Abubakar Jimoh, on the true situation of things concerning the acting DG met a brick wall.

Jimoh preferred to speak on the activities of the agency, which, he said, made a huge seizure of counterfeit products and some arrests.

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