The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) has urged the Head of Service of the Federation to urgently conduct a thorough investigation into a purported recruitment exercise carried out by the Federal Internal Revenue Service (FIRS) headed by Babatunde Fowler.
In a petition forwarded to the Head of Service and signed by CSNAC National Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, CSNAC said the recruitment should be investigated to truly establish if it was carried out in line with established rules and regulations, adding that appropriate punishment should be meted out to any individual found culpable in the scandal.
Taking its cue from the June 15, 2016 report by SaharaReporters where it was reported that the FIRS headed by Mr. Fowler was found to have overseen recruitment exercises in violation of Nigeria's rules of public advertisement, the group said the employment of 349 staff without public advertisement runs contrary to rules of engagement in public sector.
According to the report, the FIRS recently employed 349 new staff who were inducted last week in Abuja. The said exercise was not preceded by a public advertisement of vacancies to be filled or an approval by the Federal Character Commission (FCC) as the service rules stipulate.
Mr. Fowler had earlier been accused of indifference to service rules on employment by secretly hiring 250 new staff. However, his accusers could not make the charge stick, as he claimed those hired were not full-time employees but consultants.
"The latest findings, however, are accompanied by substantial evidence, including the list of new recruits, complete with their States of origin, dates of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, academic qualifications, recommended ranks and proposed duty stations.
"Furthermore, the report stated that six of the new recruits are of the position of deputy director, while 10 are assistant directors. Thirty-four others are of the rank of deputy manager, while the rest are made up of senior managers, managers, assistant managers and officers. All the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory are represented on the list. Akwa Ibom State, for example, got six slots, while Gombe has 13. Ondo State is a beneficiary of 13 slots. Lagos State, where Fowler hails from, was awarded 14 slots. Katsina got 18, Kano 15 and Borno 23. Rivers State was given 14 slots.
"However, the FIRS Acting Director of Communication reportedly told the news website that the relevant government agencies approved the exercise without clearly stating whether the vacancies were advertised or not and the relevant agencies that approved the recruitment. The said recruitment exercise however reeks of nepotism," CSNAC said in its petition.
The group further noted, "It is important that in a Federation such as Nigeria, every citizen irrespective of tribal affiliation, social status and influence is given a fair chance at getting employed into any government agency or parastatal as long as they possess the requisite qualifications.
"Where government agencies carry out recruitment exercises without following the established rules regarding advertisement of vacancies and approval from requisite agencies, it deprives some qualified citizens of their right to gainful employment, thereby giving room for corruption to thrive as unqualified individuals end up getting the said jobs through unconventional and fraudulent means.
"CSNAC is therefore by this petition requesting that you as a matter of urgency conduct a thorough investigation into the aforementioned matter in order to truly establish if the recruitment exercise was carried out following established rules and regulations, as well as mete out appropriate punishment to any individual found culpable in the scandal," the petition reads.