The Coalition for Good Governance and Rule of Law has reacted to the allegations of nepotism and marginalisation in the Industrial Training Fund by the Muslims Rights Concern (MURIC).
MURIC had in a statement by its director, Ishaq Akintola called for the immediate investigation of the Director-General of the ITF, Joseph N. Ari, over alleged nepotism, wrongful appointments and marginalisation of Muslims in the running of the agency.
However, the group in a statement by its National President/ Convener, Comrade Isaac Ikpa, said the allegation of nepotism was an attempt by Akintola to cause unnecessary distraction in the operations of the agency.
Ikpa said it was worrisome that MURIC would elect to turn the truth on its head in a most brazen and despicable manner.
He said, “We are constrained to add our voice to this narrative for the fact that the allegations are unsubstantiated. The allegations are also lacking in merit because it is obvious from all indications that MURIC relied on hearsays before making its position known in the public space.
“MURIC for inexplicable reasons alleged that 487 staff members employed by the Executive Secretary of ITF in 2019, only 90 were Muslims and that this is just 18.48 percent, while Christians were 81.52 percent.
“This is not only uncharitable; it is also an indication that the leadership of MURIC is not in tune with reality and the operational structure of the ITF that emphasises meritocracy due to the sensitivity of its operations.
“It’s succinct to add that the Coalition for Good Governance and Rule of Law has on several occasions continuously tasked agencies of government on good governance and the rule of law and it is instructive to state that the ITF remains one of the agencies of government that has displayed a high level of compliance to the extant laws guiding its operations, including recruitment at all cadres.
“It is also on record that the ITF as an agency boasts of a cosmopolitan workplace where there is mutual respect and understanding amongst staffer, all courtesy of the leadership style of the Executive Secretary, who is a known apostle of creating a level playing ground for all, devoid of religious or ethnic considerations.
“We are also aware that the ITF board is known to have carried out its employment in line with the federal character principle and there is no iota of favoritism or nepotism as being speculated. We believe that MURIC was misled into its hasty conclusion without carrying out a detailed investigation.
“We, therefore, implore a respected organisation like MURIC to do some research before making public statements on petitions before it and will encourage MURIC to continue to carry out its roles as a respected civil society organisation, or at the risk of been labelled as a tool for inciting religious tension in the country.
“We wish to inform MURIC that the said recruitment exercise of 2019 followed all due processes and was coordinated by the Federal Character Commission, which even issued a letter of compliance to the ITF after the exercise. Unless MURIC wants to state that the Federal Character Commission as an organisation is populated by Christians and responsible for giving backing to a supposed lopsided recruitment exercise.
“This is indeed a sad episode in the sense that the actions of MURIC are capable of misleading unsuspecting members of the general public into believing that the ITF is a religious-intolerant organisation. It consequently behooves MURIC to be circumspect in its public utterances, especially on issues it is ignorant about in the interest of peace and stability in Nigeria.
“The Coalition for Good Governance and Rule of Law wishes to state that the ITF under the leadership of Sir Joseph Ari has complied with all the necessary due process and we unanimously pass a vote of confidence on the leadership of the ITF.”