The Senate has vowed to make a law to ensure sterner and punitive measures against Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDA) that flaunt the federal character principle in their recruitment processes.??
They also expressed helplessness in the fight against corruption in the appointment of personnel in the civil service and public service.
This was stated by the chairman of the Senate Committee on Federal Character and inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator Dahiru Kuta, during a stakeholders’ meeting on the lack of observance of Federal Character in the recruitment processes of MDAs.
However, in an awkward scenario, some of the heads of MDAs present at the meeting tacitly admitted involvement in bribe collection for recruitment.
Senator Uche Chukwumerije asked those who can boast that their agencies did not take bribe to give out jobs to raise their hands. Shockingly, no hand was raised.
The Nigeria Prison Service, Federal Civil Service Commission, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corp (NSCDC), Fire Service, Board of Civil Defence? and commissioners of Federal Character Commission (FCC) from the 36 states were present at the meeting.
The South East region, Delta Central, Benue, and Kogi Central were listed as the areas worst hit by marginalization in federal government appointments.
Senator Kuta , who underscored the hopelessness of the committee, said that Section 14 (3) and (4) of the constitution which deals with FCC? would be amended possibly? to remove the fine option.
A fine of N50, 000 and N100,000 is stipulated for individuals and corporate organisations respectively who flaunt the provision.
He said, “we want to say that corruption in the appointment in the civil service and public service generally is increasing and we are becoming hopeless about it.
“We are also going to strengthen the law particularly as it affects the penalty for going against the principles of federal character. Once we are able to allocate to you enough funds for legal services, you will begin to employ SANS when you are taking up cases against the MDAs.
“For the federal civil service commission I want to say that after you have gotten approval for employment, there must be a thorough follow-up to ensure that each parastal or MDA Given this approval follows the principles of federal character. You must exercise the power to ensure that there is balance and spread”.
He listed the South East region, Delta Central, Benue, and Kogi Central as some of the areas worst hit by marginalization.
Chukwumerije however warned that corruption in the recruitment process should be treated ‘sui generis’, adding that the heads of MDAs found culpable should be sacked whether they knew about it or not.
He warned that the spiral effect of bribe for employment was tantamount to a poisoned dagger at the heart of the Nigerian system, describing the act as unpardonable.
FCC chairman, Prof Shuaib Abdulraheem Oba, accused the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), amongst others, of not adhering to the federal character principle in the recruitment process.
He also vowed to charge to court all MDAs that fail to comply with the provisions.
On her part, the Director-General of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Deaconess Joan Ayo, said under her watch 80 percent recruitment was based on merit while the remaining 20 percent was for political consideration.