The Head of Service of the Federation (HOSF), Dr Folashade Esan has disclosed that In March 2021, her office reported to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offence Commission (ICPC) that in a particular Ministry, over 1,000 people were carrying fake employment letters and are already enrolled on the IPPIS platform and are drawing salaries from the federal government
Dr ESan stated this at a Policy Dialogue On Entrenching Transparency In Public Service Recruitment In Nigeria, organised by the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria, an institution of ICPC in Abuja on Tuesday.
Speaking further, the HOSF said: “Just yesterday, the Civil Service Commission sent us a list of 500 people parading fake employment letters and recommended that their salaries be stopped. A list of another 3,000 was forwarded for their salaries to be stopped until their certificates and letter of appointments are verified,” the Head of Service stated.
Dr Esan, who spoke while delivering a keynote address, harped on more transparency in the recruitment process of all government agencies.
“Transparency in recruitment is a matter that elicits interest because some people, for some incorrect reasons, think public sector jobs are somehow better than jobs in other sectors. In fact, according to a 2021 Q3 report, agriculture, trade and manufacturing stand as the highest employers of labour in Nigeria.
Speaking in a similar vein, the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, declared the recently concluded recruitment exercise into the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) as one of the fairest and most transparent in recent time, despite the huge number of applicants that applied for the few positions available.
“In recruiting into the NSCDC, the board decided to advertise in the media to bring the information to the awareness of as many people as possible. This rules out secret recruitment. We also put away the manual mode of conducting tests and adopted computer-based tests that can be done in any location, eliminating the need to have a mass crowd together in one place. We hired a reputable examination body, the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) for the aptitude test.
“In addition, we included the National Identity Number (NIN) to authenticate the identities and biodata of applicants and eliminate fraud and possible impersonation.
“We also engaged the Federal Character Commission at all stages of the recruitment exercise. All these were done through a dedicated website,” a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the Minister, Sola Fasure read in part.
The Minister, who revealed that the process was long and tortuous, however, stated that the recruitment exercise was a novelty that came with a lot of pressure, yet we’re able to recruit the best into the service.
“The recruitment process into the NSCDC was long and tortuous, though It is also a novelty. So we expected a lot of pressure. Some of the pressures are understandable. A woman came with her son after getting very high up people to influence his appointment. But we discovered that the son was far, far below the required height of 1.7 metres. Some applicants in wheelchairs also came, demanding the statutory five per cent allocation for special people. We politely explained to them that the job is paramilitary, requiring strenuous physical exercise for which they are not eligible, given their physical condition.
“One of the lessons we learnt, which we have always known anyway, is that there is no part of this country where we cannot get merit if we want the best. We got people from all parts of the country who are qualified, including females, as certified by the Federal Character Commission that was part of the process from the beginning to the end,” the Minister noted.
Speaking during his address, the Chairman of the ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, noted that the event was the third in the series and germane in the fight against corruption.
“You will agree with me that the theme for today, Entrenching Transparency in Public Service Recruitment, is very germane in the fight against corruption and more importantly, they contribute towards the attainment of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) one of whose objectives is promoting an improved legal, policy, and regulatory environment for the fight against corruption.
“Indiscriminate recruitment has impacted the personnel budget such that the government personnel wage bill has continued to rise geometrically almost doubling between 2015 and 2022 from N1.832 trn in 2015 to N3.494 trn in 2022,” the ICPC chairman noted.