New Telegraph

Protesters Storm NASS, Rejects Reappointment Of Isegbe As NAQS CG

…demands probe into nine years tenure

Scores of protesters on Tuesday stormed the National Assembly to demand the immediate reversal of Dr Vincent Isegbe’s re-appointment as Comptroller General of the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS).

The protesters brandished placards with inscriptions such as “Regular staff of NAQS are abandoned for quacks”, “NAQS has made no progress under Dr Vincent Isegbe”, “PBAT should probe Dr Vincent Isegbe”, “With Dr Isigbe NASQ is under serious siege.”

Led by Civil Society Organisations; Guardians of Democracy and Development Initiative, and Nigerians of good conscience, the protesters urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to correct the alleged anomalies associated with the re-appointment of Isegbe.

Leaders of the CSOs, Comrades Danesi Momoh and Igwe Ude-umanta who also called on Senator Akpabio to reject the reappointment of Isegbe in the best interest of the agency and for progressive national development, further demanded the immediate probe of the nine years tenure of Isegbe as Comptroller General of NAQS.

They said: “We must first of all put it on record that Dr. Isegbe has already spent four (4) years as Coordinating Director and five (5) years as Comptroller General making 9 years as the Head of the agency.

“This re-appointment will give him a cumulative fourteen (14) years in which there is no significant achievement, save for allegations of corruption, high-handedness, nepotism undue favouritism; opaqueness in operation and ineptitude.

“He has also assiduously worked against the formation of a Board committee to supervise the agency, making him operate with zero supervision. There are also cases of serial abuse of Civil Service Rules and Protocols and an unmitigated assault on the morale of the regular staff of NAQS.

“May we inform Your Excellency that in a letter dated December 8, 2023, and addressed to President Tinubu through his Chief of Staff, S.I. Khamis & Co, counsels to one Alhaji Muhammad Amadu Kirya (Chairman of Donkey Market, Maraban Idan, Kaduna State) and two (2) others have asked for investigations and sanctions against Dr Isegbe for serial offences, including confiscating donkey skins under the guise of enforcing the Federal Government’s directive on preserving donkeys, only to illegally and criminally sell them at international market platforms, particularly in China. Compelling evidences were thereby annexed.

“Since the 9 years spent by Dr. Isegbe, there is no significant achievement that has been recorded except that he has found partners within the system to allow him to remain in office while the Service suffers. For instance, for all the revenue that is supposed to be made by NAQS, it has no office of its own. It shares a space with a bank here in Abuja.

“It is important to fully note that this re-appointment means that for 14 years, the career progression of highly trained, knowledgeable and qualified staff will be stagnated or terminated for no justifiable reason. Service rules and protocols have been illegally suspended.

“May we inform Your Excellency that in the 9 years of Isegbe, he sidelined the NAQS staff and employed the services of a total animal health novice who is a Nigeria Police Officer, one Adebayo Adebanjo (a k a. Gbajo Gbajo) and his Anti Terrorism Unit of the Nigerian Police, for regular NAQS operations?

“How animal quarantine matter became an anti-terrorism duty remains inexplicable. But this is the state of the NAQS run by Isegbe whose re-appointment is nothing but an undertaker assignment to completely destroy the Service.

“It should be added that very qualified NAQS staff, most of whom are Veterinary Doctors are dumped in the headquarters without operational roles while unqualified staff, some of whom are casual or contract staff are deployed to sensitive operations. For instance, under his last administration, the head of the Cite and Wild Life Enforcement Unit of NAQS was a lawyer (Barr. Omirigbe Jeremiah O.) who was not only his Personal Assistant, but also his kinsman.

“It should also be on record that, for 8 years, there has been a ban on Nigeria’s export in Europe and the rest of the world without any concrete effort by the leadership of NAQS to reverse it. As an agency mandated to issue phytosanitary certification on Nigeria’s exports, the delays and artificial bottlenecks involved in getting clearance by exporters have created corrupt syndicates that issue fake certifications that are turned down when they export their goods.

“The inefficiency of NAQS has resulted in great losses for Nigerians as rejected goods often spoil in transit on the way back to Nigeria. This has also negatively affected our foreign exchange since the imbalance in trade continues to increase. Instead of NAQS addressing this challenge, Dr Isegbe’s incompetence has led to the ban of more Nigerian goods. His reappointment will therefore harm the Nigerian economy greatly.

” Dr. Vincent Isegbe has also failed Nigerians in the prevention of cross-border disease in animals which has affected not just the quality of animal health but also the humans that consume animal products. His inability to manage our land borders and coordinate with relevant authorities to safeguard our health as a nation is a display of gross incompetence.

“The inability to provide quality control services at NAQS has reduced the credibility of Dr. Vincent Isegbe. His reappointment should, therefore, be jettisoned to give way to a credible and professional hand

“Indeed, Dr. Vincent Isegbe is a mess as far as NAQS is concerned. How he finds his way back to office as Comptroller General should particularly be investigated and addressed by the Senate as part of its oversight. But in the meantime, we urge you to save the NAQS by taking immediate steps within your power and influence to ensure that his re-appointment is reversed.”

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