The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee investigating alleged job racketeering and mismanagement of IPPIS by Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) has accused MDAs of deliberately obtaining waivers not to advertise job vacancies in order to engage in racketeering and fraudulent activities.
Chairman of the committee, Yusuf Adamu Gagdi, who spoke on Wednesday when the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) appeared before the panel, said many MDAs were in the habits of refusing to advertise vacancies but rather seek waivers from the Federal Character Commission to enable them sell job slots to highest bidders.
Gagdi’s position followed the revelation by the acting Director General of the ECN, Joseph Sunday, that the agency employed 214 staff in 2019 without advertisements, saying they obtained waivers’ certificates from the Federal Character Commission to carry out the employment.
The ECN boss told the committee the agency got approval for two batches of recruitments comprising 180 and 34, totalling 214, adding that the agency sought waivers not to advertise the vacancies to avoid being overwhelmed by applicants.
But Gagdi while condemning the under-representation of some states in the recruitment exercise done by ECN, said such anomalies happened because many MDAs hid under the guise of obtaining waivers not to advertise vacancies to sell jobs to the highest bidders, thus depriving qualified Nigerians the opportunity of being employed.
“Why would you expect anybody to apply when you obtain waiver to recruit without advertisements? Do you expect those states to apply when you did not advertise? That is why I say waiver is fraud. You don’t have any definition to waiver than calling it a fraud.
“We have a state in Nigeria that has only one representation in your agency; you have approval to employ 214 and you went to the Federal Character Commission to collect a waiver not to advertise those vacancies.
“How do you expect a state that is underrepresented to know that you are recruiting and to apply for such slots? And even to further make it a fraud; even when you are making it ‘closed door’, you did not put into consideration the fact that some states are highly and grossly underrepresented to patronise those states by way of fraudulent employment so that they will be represented.
“Our problem in our public service and federal character in recruitment is this word waiver. That is the biggest problem. And when you obtain waiver, you share the slots among yourselves; among the directors of agencies and heads of agencies; you give percentage to Federal Character (Commission); you give percentage to office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation; you give percentage to the Head of IPPIS and give percentage to the Budget Office, that is what is happening in terms of recruitments.
“There is no agency that will convince us, unless, if you come with copy of the adverts that yes, you have advertised those vacancies. But as long as you didn’t advertise these vacancies, you simply went for a waiver to recruit over 200 staff; assuming this committee recommends to the Federal Government to ban issuance of waivers in the recruitment process, will we be wrong?”
But responding, the ECN boss said the agency tried as much as possible to observe federal character principle in its recruitment processes.
He however admitted that some states were marginalised in the last recruitment exercise done by the agency, assuring that such anomalies would be remedied in future recruitment exercises.