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House of Reps Investigates Job Racketeering in FCC, JAMB

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Investigation by the House of Representatives into allegations of job racketeering in the Federal Character Commission (FCC) has deepened with witnesses called forward to testify and present evidence. At the continued hearing of the matter, 14 witnesses appeared before an ad-hoc Committee of the House on Monday, August 14 and admitted to making payments to a former assistant of the FCC Chairman, Haruna Kolo for job slots and receiving salaries without being assigned to any government institution.

Over the past few weeks, the House of Representatives ad-hoc Committee investigating Job Racketeering by Ministries, Departments and Agencies and mismanagement of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), chaired by Hon. Yusuf Gagdi (APC; Plateau) has been looking into allegations of allotment of employment slots by the FCC Chairman, Muheeba Dankaka in exchange for financial gratification. Haruna Kolo, a former assistant to the Chairman and a current staff of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) was among those who have testified against the FCC Chairman in the investigative hearing. He appeared before the Committee at its session on Monday, August 7 and stated that he had collected sums of money from job seekers for employment slots, which he remitted to the Chairman in cash. However, the Committee on Thursday, August 10, issued a warrant of arrest for Mr. Kolo, who has failed to honour subsequent summons to appear before the Committee.

Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Gagdi has stated that the bank accounts of the 36 State Commissioners of the FCC alongside accounts of persons who have been identified as agents in the sale of jobs in government establishments, will be scrutinised.

Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Ishaq Oloyede has also appeared before the Committee on Monday, August 14, to explain why it employed at least 300 persons without following due process. JAMB is facing allegations of undertaking staff recruitment without adhering to the laid down procedure of advertising vacancies and shortlisting qualified applicants before issuing employment letters to successful applicants. Although the agency is said to have received waivers for its recruitment exercise, the Committee stated that it failed to adhere to the provisions of the law on non-engagement of more than 100 staff annually, as the agency employed up to 300 persons in a single recruitment exercise in 2021. The recruitment was also described as a violation of the Federal Character Principle. In response to the allegations, Prof. Oloyede stated that the vacancies filled by JAMB were created as a result of the retirement of some staff. He added that JAMB obtained a waiver for recruitment and did not advertise the vacancies due to the exigency to fill the vacant positions. He further insisted that JAMB has not violated the Federal Character principle in its recruitment exercises since 2015.

The Committee directed the agency to submit a list of all persons it employed between 2015 and 2023.

These investigations are uncovering several underhanded schemes in government establishments and Nigerians are calling for accountability. The National Assembly often constitutes investigative panels to look into the affairs of institutions under the Executive arms of government in the exercise of its oversight functions. Some of the investigative activities by the House of Representatives that drew attention in recent time include the probe into the petroleum subsidy regime and the probe into the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

However, what remains to be seen is  follow-up action by the Executive to bring erring personnel and other culpable parties to book.