The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Peter Jack has been suspended from office indefinitely over what was alleged as “misconduct” unbecoming of a public officer of his cadre.
The indefinite suspension which takes immediate effect from yesterday, in a statement by Victor Oluwadamilare, special assistant on Media to the Mr. Adebayo Shittu, minister of Communications, became imperative on the strength of deluge of petitions regarding several alleged wrong doings in NITDA and subsequent preliminary findings of an Investigative Committee set up by the Ministry.
These petitions against Jack relates to illegal employments not approved by the appropriate authority and procurements carried out in direct contraventions of laid down rules and procedure unknown to Civil Service administration in Nigeria.
Some of the infractions identified by the Investigative Committee made up of three senior Ministry officials include unauthorised illegal recruitment of additional staff totalling 245 within a spate of seven months.
According to the Committee’s startling findings, “as at 29th May, 2015, NITDA only had a staff complement of 74. But from May, 2015 to 31st December, 2015, additional 245 staff were employed in questionable circumstances despite clear instruction from the Ministry directing suspension of employment in the Agency”.
“These disclosure were deduced from the records provided by Jack, although he was unable to provide concrete information on whose authority he embarked on the massive recruitment and who granted him the authority for officials to be seconded to NITDA from other MDAs”, the statement added.
Prior to this development, the suspended DG was specifically directed by the Ministry not to embark on a recruitment exercise purported to have been scheduled for 17th December, 2015, but he defiantly went ahead to recruit without authority.
On the alleged financial misdemeanour, the Committee opined that the situation in the Agency would require a more detailed professional auditing of NITDA’s finances to determine the true state of the financial health of the Agency.
Consequently, Mr Jack has been suspended from office as NITDA’s Director-General so as to allow for further independent investigations of his stewardship in the last three years.
Meanwhile, Dr. Vincent Olatunji has been named as the acting Director-General of the Agency with immediate effect, pending the outcome of the planned investigations.
Dr. Olatunji, until his appointment was the Director of Corporate Strategy and Research in the Agency. He joined NITDA in 2002.