A controversial recruitment exercise which involved indiscriminate allocation of jobs contrary to the provisions of the Federal Character Commission Act is currently going on at the National Human Rights Commission’s (NHRC) headquarters in Abuja.
Investigation by our correspondent revealed that about 253 people were hurriedly employed a week before the Governing Council of the commission was inaugurated
Under the amended National Human Rights Commission Act, 2010, it is the council that has the powers to authorize employment.
Section 8 (1) provides: “The Council shall have power to appoint directly, and either on transfer or on secondment from any public service in the Federation, such number of employees as may, in the opinion of the Council, be required to assist the Commission in the discharge of any of its functions under this act, and shall have power to pay to persons so employed such remuneration (including allowances) as the Council may determine.
“(2) The terms and conditions of service (including terms and conditions as to remuneration, allowances, pensions, gratuities and other benefits) of the person employed by the Commission shall be as determined by the Council from time to time.”
However, in order to overreach the council and in clear violation of the Federal Character policy, the commission had hurriedly allocated jobs and issued letters of employment to cronies without even inviting them for an interview.
A staff of the commission said that the stuffing was done on the weekend preceding the Monday when the council was inaugurated. The council was inaugurated on Monday 26th November 2012 by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Mohamed Adoke, SAN.
Documents obtained from the commission revealed that no provision was made for the payment of the salaries of the illegally employed workers.
Besides, some were posted to states where the commission had no offices.
“There was no advertisement. No interview. Nigerian youths were not given the opportunity to apply for the jobs but some big men here just issued letters to their brothers and townsmen some of whom do not have the idea of what the commission does”, an aggrieved staff of the commission told our correspondent in confidence.
He explained that in order not to disguise the states from which the newly employed people come from, the commission fraudulently disguised the states by ascribing Nasarawa State to someone who comes from Benue.
He called on the governing council of the commission to as a matter of urgency re-dress the wrong by giving qualified Nigerians the opportunity to be considered for work at the commission.
One of the beneficiaries of the illegal recruitment who claimed to be a christian confirmed that he was not invited for an interview and that his letter of employment was brought to him in the house.
However a senior staff in the Commission who does not want his name in print said that they obtained waiver from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) to carry out the said employment but he however could not rationalize why they said jobs were not advertised in line with government policy
He none the less said that the jobs were advertised on the Commission’s website.