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Friday, June 14, 2024

PRODA on the Brink of Collapse

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By Larry Martins

The labour unions of the Project Development Institute (PRODA) Enugu, have lamented over what it described as  maladministration and poor funding which currently leading to total collapse of the institute

Thus, the three labour unions in the institute: the Academic Staff Union of Research Institutes (ASURI),
Senior Staff Association of Research and Allied Institutions (SSAUTRAI) and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) in their positions accused the management
of the Institute, especially the Acting Managing Director and Chief
Executive Officer (MD/CEO), Dr. Charles Agulena of incompetence and
non-responsive to the demands of workers and challenges facing the organization.

It could be recalled that the Institute formerly known as the Research and Production Department
of the old Eastern Region, which served as the brain box for the
manufacture of famous ‘flying Ogbunigwe’ (flying bomb) by the defunct
Republic of Biafra, was later on converted to PRODA at the end of the
civil war in 1971 by the federal government.
The institute which has as its pioneer Director General and Chief
Executive Officer, late Prof. Gordian Ezekwe, a renowned scientist,
who later became Minister of Science and Technology, is currently a
shadow of itself and on the verge of losing its core mandate of man
power development in the area of research and development.

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Labour leaders, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of
victimization, alleged that extant rules as contained in the research
Institute’s condition/scheme of service as well as the federal
character principle were being violated.
They accused the management under the leadership of Agulena who has been acting as CEO for more than two years of disregarding issues
raised by the labour unions such as staff welfare, lack of
protective/safety equipment, irregular employment procedures, arrears
of promotions, non-confirmation of staff and other fraudulent
irregularities.
The workers stressed that not even the inauguration of governing board
for the institute last year could right the many wrongs bedeviling the
research outfit, demanding that the federal government through the
parent Ministry of Science and Technology should step in to
investigate numerous allegations as contained in their petitions.
In a quick telephone reaction however, the MD/CEO of PRODA, Dr.
Agulena dismissed the allegations saying what is happening in PRODA
was not peculiar but a general problem of other research institutes.
While blaming the workers for “failing to understand”, he fingered
paucity of funds as the major challenge facing PRODA.

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Agulna maintained that he would not join issues with the labour unions since they had already reported the matter to Abuja.
“I’m representing Government in PRODA and they have a governing
council,” he noted.

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