Ezra Ogogu, Abuja
The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee investigating fraudulent recruitment by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) has uncovered, among other things, how a board chairman allegedly recruited 1,000 people from his state while a former minister recruited over 100 people from his state.
The committee, chaired by Hon. Wole Oke, said Thursday in Abuja when it commenced its investigative hearing, that chairmen of boards of MDAs allegedly personalised the recruitment carried out between 2017 and 2018.
He expressed concerns over the alleged nepotism and inducement that characterised the recruitment of job seeker during the period.
The Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, who was represented by Mrs. Ajayi Magdalene was also made to answer questions over the recruitment of 2,860 personnel in 2017 and 5,397 in 2018 as against the 97 waivers approved.
Ajayi said the payroll of the Accountant General ‘s office had the exact number of civil servants that they were paying, adding that “In terms of manpower, the manpower budget for all the ministries, parastatals and all the agencies is done or oversighted by the Head of Civil Service and so every year we have a meeting where we say this is the establishment you can have, that is the number of officers you can have in this agency.
“And based on that budget is made so it’s not just for the core ministries; it also involved the parastatals that’s why we can give you the figures that we have here.
“But that a parastatal violates the rules by applying for a waiver to recruit is not the making of the Office of the Head of Service and that’s why I said if it is brought to the attention of the Head of Service, she will deal with it based on the extant rules.
“We are also very much concerned about the personnel and the number we have. Remember when IPPIS started, it started with the payroll and so the Accountant General office has their own data. But we are looking at some other things we are doing that involves human resources.
“People are meant to retire but they keep changing their age; that will keep happening as long as we keep using paper. If we have all these digitalised, nobody without access can go and have such document done. And that’s what is driving the Head of Service to make sure that we have a good database. And by the grace of God by the end of August, the story will be different and supported by you we can move on to the civil servants,” she said.
The Federal Character Commission (FCC) was accused of looking the other way while these massive recruitment irregularities were perpetrated in most of the MDAs.
The committee expressed disapproval at the roles played by the FCC in the issuance of certificate of compliance to the Nigerian Army for the 77 and 78 Regular intake on the 25th July, 2019, which happens to be the same day the application was made.
Reacting to revelations bordering on abuse among top-notch civil servants, Oke assured Nigerians that the National Assembly is determined to ensure adherence to the provisions of the Federal Character Act and the 999 Constitution (as amended).
According to him, “The Federal Character Commission has made submission on the waivers. So we have lists of all recruitments done in 2017 and 2018,” adding that “Issues of nepotism fake and forged credentials among other issues will be looked at.”
The lawmaker said the mischiefs uncovered in the recruitment would come handy for policy makers in handling annual budget planning and elimination of ghost workers.
Oke added that members of the ad-hoc committee would be assigned to various sub-committees to further investigate those recruited and verify their indigeneship as claimed in their applications.
On his part, Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission Board, Ambassador Toye Olofintuyi, said he was not aware of the alleged fraudulent recruitments.
The Director, Directorate of Nigerian Army Recruitment and Resettlement, Brigadier General A. A. Aboaba, told the committee that the Chief of Army Staff had directed that henceforth the recruitment should be done on state basis instead of the zonal arrangement adopted.
He also said 100 applicants would be recruited from each of the states.