By Chioma Iruke
In gross violation of the provisions of the Federal Character Commission and the Public Service Rules, over 500 individuals have been secretly recruited into the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), under the guise of replacement and emergency recruits, a senior staff of the commission has told The Heritage Times.
According to our source, the new recruits were offered letter of appointments between January 2020 and July 2021, with full benefits, including relocation, clothing and travel allowances.
The source who noted that the recruitments were done under the guise of replacements and emergency recruitments without public notice, had majority of its recruits from the northern part of the nation.
Heritage Times had a chat with Adamu, one of the new recruits from Katsina State who served in Minna, Niger State. He explained that he got employed last year shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic. According to him, he began his employment journey in December 2019, thanks to a recommendation letter by his father who works with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN).
Adamu further testified that he was invited for an interview in the same month and by January this year, he was invited to come collect his appointment letter. He revealed that he was paid for his relocation from Kaduna and also given transport allowance alongside remuneration for his accommodation. Everything paid to him aside salary, was close to N1.5m, Adamu said.
Another new recruit who spoke on condition of anonymity, while sharing her testimony of the job in her local Church, noted that she got her appointment letter in November at midnight, with resumption date as December 31, 2020. The elated employee who was filled with joy, noted that she began her journey towards working in the NCC in 2019 after she was hinted on its benefit.
According to rule, 020102 – (i) of the Public Service Rules, “The Federal Civil Service Commission shall make appointment to posts graded GL.12 – 17. Such appointment shall be made as the need arises into the available vacancies after advertisement.” From findings conducted by The Heritage Times, the NCC did not follow due process in their recruitments into various departments, as no official adverts were made on their website, the website of the Federal Civil Service Commission, or on any Nigerian national dailies. In shrouding its activities and defending itself, the Commission almost on a yearly basis, had issued disclaimers alleging that no recruitment was been carried out, with the latest issued in February 15, 2021.
Thus, it is either the secrete appointments served the interest of the Chief Executive Officer or other senior staff of the commission. A constant check on the LinkedIn account of the NCC revealed steady updates on new jobs offered.
Heritage Times in pursuant to section 1&2(i), 2(c) (vi) of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2011, which grants any person the right to request for information in possession of any public institution, as well as mandate a public institution to keep proper record and information about its activities to enable easy access by the public of information including names, salaries, titles and dates of employment of all employees and officers of the institution thus, asked the NCC to make available a ‘comprehensive list of staff recruited between January 2020 and July 2021’ so as to facilitate transparency and accountability through our investigative journalism.
The NCC after weeks of foot-dragging on the request, declined Heritage Times transparency test, citing section 14 (1) (b) of the FOI Act, thus corroborating the testaments of our sources.
The Nigerian Civil Service has been plagued with so much corruption and of recent, a new trend of issuing appointment letters to people of certain origins have plagued the system even more. As notable in most government institutions under the current administration, the Chief Executive Officer of the NCC is of northern origin, and the 21 departments of the Commission is occupied by northern majority.