Trouble in Senate over recruitment scandal
• Leadership accused of sharing 100 job slots
• Aggrieved lawmakers vow showdown
• Commission cautions against police jobs
Anger and suspicion are brewing in the Senate. These have been provoked by some members of the upper legislative chamber using their official positions to allegedly get job slots from government agencies.Already, the Senate committee charged with ensuring employment complies with the federal character principle yesterday vowed to expose such lawmakers involved in the job racketeering.
The Chairman of the committee, Danjuma La’ah, promised there would be no sacred cows. “I don’t care who they have given job slots to. Is it the leadership that will give them the backing? The leadership knows that I am capable of doing my job. That is why they gave me that responsibility,” he told journalists at the National Assembly complex.
“I am using my sense to fish out the bad elements. It is not a leadership directive. There are rules and regulations guiding us as a committee. The affected agencies should present themselves for clearance because I will not take it easy. Our people have suffered in bondage for long.”
He said: “I am not aware that any agency gave out employment slots to the Senate. The leadership has not told us that they received any slot. So, whom did they give? As the chairman of this committee, who is also representing Kaduna South, I was not in any way aware that we have been given any employment slots. So, we are going ahead with our probe. I have taken it upon myself that I will probe deeply into the agencies’ claims and carry out an extensive investigation. We are going to expose all those that are tarnishing the image of the Federal Government.”
La’ah said further: “We are aware that some of the agencies are selling the employment slots at their disposal. They are commercialising employment, selling a single slot for as much as N1.5m, when we have children who have graduated from tertiary institutions who could not get any job for many years. Some people are just taking Nigerians for granted. Our children are suffering, running from one end to another, looking for jobs. Some have become bandits and terrorists because the jobs meant for them have been cornered by some greedy people.”
Also, some senators are putting pressure on the committee to fast-track the investigation, to enable the chamber to mete out sanctions to indicted colleagues. A senator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said handling the matter might prove difficult since the leadership has allegedly shared 100 job slots.
Another claimed: “The secret employment is already tearing the Senate apart. A particular agency of the Federal Government was said to have offered 100 slots to the leadership. An average senator, who is not a member of the executive, cannot even boast of being given a single job by any federal agency for his or her constituents.
“We had information that one of the leaders shared 26 slots to people in his senatorial district. Problems are really brewing in the Senate because the leadership has allegedly taken jobs meant for Nigerians. Does it mean you must know a senator in Nigeria before you get a job? Nothing is being done by merit and due process again. How will you get the best brains to do the jobs?
But there might be more to the complaint, as the lawmaker added: “The implication is that many people are being offered employment without undergoing any interview to test their capability. They just give them appointment letters because they know the leadership of the Senate. How can a single senatorial district get 26 slots when others have nothing? My expectation is that the slots should go round. I see no reason why each senator should not have a slot each.”
Meanwhile, the Police Service Commission (PSC) has distanced itself from a list of candidates allegedly released by the Nigeria Police Force in respect of the recruitment into the constable cadre.
The Spokesperson of the commission, Ikechukwu Ani, who disclosed this in Abuja yesterday, said the release of the list was an act of illegality and a breach of federal character requirements.
“It is unfortunate that despite the pendency of the court processes, the Nigeria Police Force went ahead to release a purported list of candidates it has invited for training,” Ani said. He urged the public to be wary of the list, as the commission would soon release the authentic list of successful candidates on local government basis.
“The commission is presently in court against the Nigeria Police Force over the hijack of its constitutional powers to recruit and has filed originating summons and interlocutory injunction restraining the NPF from going ahead with the exercise,” said Ani.The hearing of the commission’s suit has been scheduled for Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at the Federal High Court 5, Abuja.