Reps Issue Warning Against Sabotage in Nigeria’s Nuclear Research Centers

Reps Issue Warning Against Sabotage in Nigeria's Nuclear Research Centers

In a bid to safeguard the nation’s security and address the concerns of personnel and nuclear scientists managing Nigeria’s nuclear research centers, Hon. Afam Victor Ogene, the House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Renewable Energy, has issued a poignant appeal. Despite facing grievances over the lingering non-payment of approved hazard and high-risk allowances, Hon. Ogene emphasized the importance of avoiding any acts of sabotage that could compromise national security.

The dialogue unfolded on Thursday in Abuja as representatives from the two prominent nuclear research centers convened with the Committee on Renewable Energy at the National Assembly. The meeting’s focus was to investigate why the Budget Office withheld hazard and high-risk allowances sanctioned for scientists within these centers while paradoxically allegedly disbursing them to civil servants under the Nigerian Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) in Abuja.


The two centers under scrutiny are the Centre for Energy Research and Training at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and the Centre for Energy Research and Development at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. While the Zaria Center hosts the nation’s sole nuclear reactor, the Ile-Ife Center accommodates a nuclear Tandem Accelerator alongside nuclear waste and other sources of radiation that demand meticulous handling.

The management of these centers expressed grave concerns regarding the impact of unpaid allowances on the morale of scientists who confront daily risks in managing the nation’s nuclear facilities. Their apprehensions were articulated in a formal complaint to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Abass Tajudeen, in January 2024. They underscored the potential risks of sabotage or nuclear accidents stemming from staff disillusionment due to poor working conditions and inadequate institutional support.


Responding to these concerns, the Speaker directed the Committee on Renewable Energy to investigate the challenges outlined by the centers. Representatives from the centers, including Prof. Ganiyu I. Balogun, Prof. J.F.K Akinbami, Dr. Bashir M. Umar, and Dr. M.B Katif, elucidated on the challenges faced and efforts undertaken to mitigate risks and prevent nuclear incidents that could trigger international repercussions.

Hon. Ogene reassured the representatives of ongoing efforts within the House to address the identified challenges comprehensively in his address. He disclosed that the Committee had reviewed the petition and formulated recommendations, including:

  1. Directing the Budget Office of the Federation and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to reinstate the reviewed allowances.
  2. Granting the two Centres of Excellence financial autonomy by allocating separate budget lines to facilitate the effective discharge of their mandates.
  3. Approving appeals made by the Chairman/CEO of the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission on behalf of the staff, considering the sensitive nature of their responsibilities.
  4. Initiating a query against the National Income Salaries and Wages Commission due to its adverse role.

The proposed recommendations aim to address the core issues impeding the smooth operation of Nigeria’s nuclear research centers and ensure the safety of personnel and the broader populace. It underscores the imperative of providing adequate support and recognition to scientists and personnel managing sensitive nuclear facilities.

In conclusion, Hon. Ogene reiterated the commitment of the House to resolving these challenges expeditiously and urged all stakeholders to collaborate in achieving lasting solutions. Safeguarding the integrity and security of Nigeria’s nuclear research infrastructure remains a collective responsibility, requiring concerted efforts from government agencies, policymakers, and the scientific community.


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