By Layemo O. Layemo
Special Correspondent, Abuja
Abuja, March 18, 2017 (TNE): After months of speculation by a section of the media, The Nigerian Expression can now reveal authoritatively that the immediate past head of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs. Mariel Rae-Omoh, gained employment at the agency with a certificate from a foreign institution not recognised in Nigeria.
Such certificate may have been forged, purportedly emanating from an existing institution, or obtained from a mushroom institution, or through other fraudulent means.
According to the Federal Ministry of Education, which was asked by the Ministry of Information and Culture to evaluate Mrs. Rae-Omoh’s certificate, the institution which she claimed to have attended – State Institute of Technology of Senigallia in Italy – is ”not on the list of the Ministry’s accredited institution in Italy”.
”Consequently, the certificate cannot be evaluated,” a letter dated March 15, 2017, from the Federal Ministry of Education to the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, the supervising ministry of the NTDC, said.
The Nigerian Expression reports that the letter has dealt a final, lethal blow on Mrs. Rae-Omoh, who was recently fired as the Acting Director-General of the NTDC and then demoted from the rank of Director (GL 17) to Deputy Director (GL 16)
In demoting Mrs. Rae-Omoh, along with 14 other members of staff, the report of a staff records verification said she should not have been on GL 17 but for the ”irregularities of appointment and/or conversion errors that have been the hallmarks of your career”
A source at the Ministry of Information and Culture told TNE on Saturday that Mrs. Rae-Omoh faces a possible dismissal from the agency for securing employment with a fake certificate.
As part of efforts to re-position the NTDC to enhance its efficiency, the Federal Government recently appointed a Director in the Ministry of Water Resources, Mr. Paul Adalikwu, as the Acting Director-General of the tourism agency, replacing Mrs. Rae-Omoh.
Following the sack of the NTDC’s substantive head, Mrs Sally Mbanefo, last year, Mr. Boniface Ebuka was appointed the Acting DG. But his tenure was short-lived after Mrs. Rae-Omoh’s protest – that she was the most senior staff in the agency – was upheld, leading to her appointment.
On Tuesday, the umbrella body of the travel and tourism journalists in the country, the Association of Nigerian Journalists and Writers of Tourism (ANJET), sharply criticised the Minister of Information and
Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, for appointing three Acting DGs for the NTDC within five months, saying the trend was sending the wrong signals, creating instability as well as tainting stakeholders’ confidence in tourism in Nigeria..
However, a Ministry of Information and Culture source said ANJET should have endeavoured to find out the reason behind the replacement of DGs at the NTDC before rushing to the press.
”What was the Minister (of Information and Culture) supposed to do when, in the first case, he was provided with a clear evidence that the man who was appointed the Acting DG after Sally was sacked was not the most senior at the time?
” Again, when the Minister was presented with a report that Mrs. Rae-Omoh was wrongly elevated to GL 17, when she should have been on GL 16, do you honestly expect him not to act?” the source queried. (TNE)