The Federal Government is working on the merger of some agencies under the Ministry of Information and Culture preparatory to sacking the heads of the affected entities, Qed.ng has learned.
Among the agencies to be affected are the National Theatre, National Troupe of Nigeria, National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), National Film Corporation (NFC), National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) and National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC).
Others are Centre for Black and African Arts and Culture (CBAAC), National Commission for Museum and Monuments (NCMM), Nigerian Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) and the National Gallery of Art (NGA).
President Muhammadu Buhari sacked the heads of six agencies under the Ministry of Information and Culture on Monday, February 15
Those affected were Sola Omole, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA); Ladan Salihu, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN); Sam Worlu, Voice of Nigeria (VON); Ima Niboro, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN); Emeka Mba, Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), and Mike Omeri, National Orientation Agency (NOA).
They were replaced by Ishaq Modibo Kawu, NBC; Mansur Liman, FRCN; Yakubu Mohammed, NTA; Garba Abari, NOA; Bayo Onanuga, NAN, and Osita Okechukwu, VON, on May 25.
The delay in sweeping out the heads of other agencies, a source within the Ministry told Qed.ng is due to the consideration of the Steve Oronsaye Committee report on restructuring and rationalisation of federal agencies, parastatals and commissions.
“The Federal Government is considering the Oronsaye Committee report and White Paper on same. It is expected that some agencies in the Ministry will be merged or scrapped. There is no need appointing chief executives for agencies whose status is not certain.
“Heads were appointed for NTA, FRCN, NAN, VON and others because their status is guaranteed,” the source said.
The Oronsaye Committee, which was constituted by former President Goodluck Jonathan in August, had recommended the reduction of the number of statutory agencies of government from 263 to 161.
It recommended, among others, that the NFC and NFVCB be merged while the National Theatre, National Troupe of Nigeria and NCAC become one.
“The merger of the erstwhile Ministry of information and National Orientation with that of Culture and Tourism means agencies with overlapping roles will be merged,” the source continued.
“The Ministry of Information and Culture as we have it today presently has the National Orientation Agency and the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) which is considered a duplication.
“The National Gallery of Art, National Council for Arts and Culture and Centre for Black and African Arts and Culture are also considered a duplication.
“Their substantive heads will have to go when the government is clear about how the restructuring should be.
“Those currently occupying leadership positions know that they do so on borrowed time. There is panic among them because they know their jobs are not safe.
“The government may even move sooner than expected as the chief executives have started spending capital allocation from the 2016 budget.
“They know they will leave their positions soon. It is how soon that nobody knows.
“With what President Buhari did by merging some ministries, it is certain that some agencies will be merged.”
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, said in a recent interview that the government is looking at the Oronsaye Committee Report in the context of the current administration’s objectives.
“A lot of hard work went into it, and we would like to study it and implement it in agreement with our policies,” Lawal said.