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CIPPON decries corrupt practices in printing industry

By Silver Nwokoro
24 November 2022   |   4:07 am
Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria (CIPPON) has decried corrupt practices in the printing industries, calling on government agencies, especially, Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC) to patronise local printers.

Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria (CIPPON) has decried corrupt practices in the printing industries, calling on government agencies, especially, Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC) to patronise local printers.

It also called on the agencies to give contracts to printers who are licensed by the institute. In a press briefing held in Lagos, with the theme, ‘2023 General Election: Matters Arising in the Nigerian Printing Industry’, the CIPPON President, Malomo Olugbemi, said government agencies, such as INEC, spend hugely on printing, without corresponding economic benefit to the industry.

He said: “In agencies, such as Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), that awards contracts worth billions of naira for printing of books yearly, majority of the books are printed overseas. Others include INEC that spend billions every four years to print ballot papers.

“It is to be noted that the dealing of such big agencies in the award of contracts is done in a cult-like manner, in collaboration with the ‘industry status quo’ (strongmen).”

Given the level of corruption in the industry, the institute established a board, to set in motion plans, including a strategic framework that would turn the industry into a business ecosystem, where benefits that accrue will advantage all.

One of the strategic frameworks is institutional integrity. “We want to bring integrity and accountability into how we relate among ourselves and the general public, knowing fully well the public perception of the industry,” Olugbemi said.

He noted that a survival strategy came up during the COVID-19 era, which was, ‘Let Nigerian printing jobs remain in Nigeria and for printers only’.He alleged that some big printers in Abuja that represent ‘the status quo’ are currently using their corrupt ways to destabilise the industry because of the award of INEC contracts.

He said: “From the beginning of our first tenure as council members, after the election in July 2019, we embarked on a journey of using the instrument of regulation provided by Act 24 of 2007 to contribute to the economic growth and development of our nation by making printing business profitable again and intentionally laying out plans to institutionalise our industry, hitherto dominated by ‘status quo’.”

Olugbemi also lamented the actions of Ittu Tommy Ittu over an appeal filed by the institute on a judgment by Justice S. A. Amobeda of the Federal High Court, Jalingo, on sacking of the council and barring of its members from contesting in future election.

He said: “Towards the expiration of our tenure in 2021, we set out to conduct election in Abeokuta and gave a mandatory 21-day publication notice in the newspaper in July 2021.

“On the eve of the election, we were informed by some of our council members that there was an injunction from the Federal High Court in Minna, obtained by a lady, Jumoke Owoeye, who was inducted six months earlier into the institution, stopping the election.

“Her complaint was that she was disenfranchised. Even though her name was on the voter list. The court sat four times and she never showed up in court, and the case was summarily dismissed.

“We conducted another election in Lagos in March 2022 and gave the mandatory 21-day notice. New council members emerged. After the election, our attention was drawn to a purported injunction obtained by the same Owoeye from the High Court in Jalingo, stopping the election on the premise that we have over stayed our tenure.”

“On September 21, 2022, a judgment was awarded against us, unexpectedly, sacking the council and barring members from contesting in future election. The court also asked a co-defendant in the suit (among those sacked), who was nominated as one of the Minister of Information’s five nominees into the council (and also an employee of the ministry) by the name Tommy Ittu to run the affairs of the institute and conduct election within three months.”

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