Almost all federal ministries, departments and agencies have been carrying out illegal mass recruitments, SUNDAY PUNCH gathered on Saturday.
Many government parastatals including the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Federal Inland Revenue Service, and the Nigerian Prisons Service, among others have been dogged by recruitment scandals which they have vehemently denied.
A document obtained by our correspondent showed that following a review carried out by the Ministry of Finance, 183 out of 185 MDAs had recruited 13,780 staff in recent years.
Out of this number, 6,917 were recruited without any formal approval; 2,314 were employed by seven universities with governing council approval; only while 4,549 had correctly obtained approval from the Office of the Head of Service and Federal Character Commission.
The review showed that out of the 185 agencies, only the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian Army sought approval for their recruitment.
Following this discovery, a report prepared by the panel was forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari before he travelled to the United Kingdom for medical treatment asking that the MDAs be ordered to follow due process.
It was gathered that the President ordered the Office of Secretary to Government of the Federation to carry out an investigation, while also placing a ban on recruitment without approval.
One of the officials involved in the recruitment told SUNDAY PUNCH that under the pretext of replacing workers that had either resigned or were given the boot, the 183 agencies carried out mass recruitment without following due process.
The official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorised to speak to the press said, “The worst culprits are universities, hospitals and the Nigerian Prisons Service. One university in Nasarawa recruited 800 people without due process while another hospital hired 200 without approval. Sources in the government told SUNDAY PUNCH that illegal hiring makes it difficult to sanitise the payroll and control personnel cost.
A senior government official said a lot of nepotism was involved and added that the illegal recruitment was one of the reasons there were regional imbalances in employment of civil servants.
“More important, the recruitment is without reference to budgetary provisions, hence leading to the risk of unpaid salaries and the need for virement which increases payroll cost,” the official stated.
Explaining how the illegal recruitment are carried out, the source stated, “For example, if a director who earns N300,000 monthly should retire, the agency will bring in six people at the cost of N50,000 per month which they use in replacement of the retiree. So, they will have six workers that were never needed. They call it replacement and spread these slots to politicians. But it’s killing the civil service. In some cases, the slots are sold in exchange for six months’ pay from those recruited.”
It was further gathered that apart from the probe and ban ordered by Buhari, the President approved that the Budget Office should be more involved in recruiting people to work in the civil service.
The source added, “The SGF and the Head of Civil Service were told to issue circulars on recruitment. The minister of finance also recommended that the procedure should be amended to require a clearance letter from the Director General of the Budget Office to confirm budgetary provision for any planned recruitment.”