Oyo State Police, acting on the orders of the Director General of the Forest Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), Ibadan, Oyo State, Prof. Adepoju Olusola, arrested a worker from the institution , Mr. Abaraham Taiwo Joseph on stories published by SaharaReporters.
The police also charged Joseph, who was illegally sacked by Olusola for allegedly making false allegations against government officials in a magistrate’s court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State.
“Joseph was invited to come for a meeting at the police headquarters on Monday, but on arriving there he was arrested and at around 6 a.m. on Tuesday he was brought before a magistrate.
“They didn’t even allow him access to a lawyer. They seem to have finalized everything with the magistrate but he granted him bail and adjourned the case until June 29,” reveals a court document obtained by SaharaReporters.
According to the court document, Joseph was accused of working with some people from SaharaReporters to cause civil unrest in the institution.
“That you Abraham Taiwo Joseph and others now at large on June 29, 2021 at around 2:00 p.m. at the Forest Research Institute of Nigeria, Ibadan in the Ibadan Magistrate District, conspired with others in Sahara Reporters to commit the ‘offense of mind the publication of a defamatory message and conduct likely to cause the breach of the peace with intent to harm the reputation of a professor Adepoju Olusola and thereby committed an offense contrary to and punishable under section 517 of the penal code cap 38 vol 11 statutes of Oyo State Nigeria 2000,” part of the document read.
SaharaReporters had reported how FRIN Director General Prof. Adepoju Olusola embarked on a witch hunt and victimization of some Institute workers, following a story that revealed how he awarded contracts fraudulent without resorting to due process and due process.
A source told SaharaReporters that FRIN board members have been denied access to information on all financial and administrative activities of the agency, including records of budgets, expenditures, contracts, appointments and promotions undertaken under Olusola.
A few weeks after the story, it was learned that Olusola had ordered the transfer of the workers he described as “enemies” from the agency’s headquarters in Ibadan, Oyo State, to some states in the north and southeast.
Dissatisfied, he fired Joseph without any evidence of wrongdoing.
According to the dismissal letter, which was later published by SaharaReporters, the institute claimed that Joseph was terminated due to alleged insubordination and his refusal to proceed with the redeployment.
“Recall your appearances before the Institute’s Staff Disciplinary Committee for your offense bordering on false allegations against a staff member, your refusal to redeploy and your insubordination, all of which are considered gross misconduct within the meaning of the Chapter 3, Sections 3 and 4 of the Civil Service Rule,” the letter read.
“Consequently, the Board of Directors of the Institute, during its meeting held on September 27, 2021, ratified the recommendation of the Committee namely
“Dismissal with effect from September 27, 2021.
“The institute wishes you good luck in your future endeavours.”
Apart from Joseph, many workers were questioned by the general manager, who considered himself responsible for having denounced him.
“He used direction to chase perceived enemies. The consequence of this SaharaReporters publication is the victimization of staff with transfer threats.
“Unfortunately, the board and management did not provide a verifiable report of objective investigation into the alleged issues.
“Furthermore, most of us transferred to other states did not receive any stipend to facilitate our redeployment. When one of us brought this to their attention, they directed a question to him.
“The union has been divided and bought off over this. The DG has turned into a god in the institute, always intimidating and threatening the staff with his connections and influence in Abuja.
“Section 130105 of the Civil Service Rule states that transportation and relocation allowances must be made available prior to transfer or assignment,” a source had told SaharaReporters.
SaharaReporters had also reported how Olusola illegally promoted staff members disregarding civil service rules.
“The Managing Director, Prof. Adepoju Olusola was found doing the following; ‘IPPIS has confirmed this.
“Illegal dismissal or withholding from staff salaries (This is done randomly) without reason, explanation and reimbursement movement (He does not listen to anyone) for the same month of October 2020.
“Violation of the rule of the civil service in the promotion of personnel. In 2020, a promotion exercise was conducted and more than 30%-40% of staff were denied promotion even though they passed the exam, but he claimed there was no Vacancy.
“In January 2021, this year, those who were promoted received their letters and were promoted appropriately. To our amazement, in June 2021, a portion of those who were promoted and served their letters received another promotion. We discovered that they are his accomplices at the institute.
“Imagine, someone was promoted to level 11 in January 2021 and received another promotion in June 2021 to level 13, in the space of five months.
“All efforts to get him to explain this decision have proven futile as he will never leave room for questioning. He is above the law and people are afraid to challenge him,” the source said.