Almost 5,000 civil servants recruited by the Federal Civil Service Commission, FCSC, during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan are on the verge of being fired as President Muhammadu Buhari’s government has launched investigations on the “federal character” of their employment.
According to sources, there was a move by the Federal Civil Service Commission to sack the workers penciled down in the mass retrenchment on Monday, September 12, 2016, but the action was suspended because of its potential to cause “crisis in the system”.
About 247 of the affected workers had petitioned the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission over the plan by the FCSC to victimise them by relieving them of their jobs.
Dr. Shettima Abba, the acting executive chairman of the Federal Character Commission had questioned the chairman of the FCSC, Mrs. Joan Ayo, for “ostensibly violating the principle of federal character in the recruitment of the civil servants”. This query was via a letter dated May 3, 2016.
He said the employment that reportedly took place between 2013 and 2015, featured “an obvious abuse of the federal character principle”.
According to Abba, the recruitment was allegedly done in “favour of the South South geopolitical zone” which got 33.6 per cent of those recruited as against the 26.2 per cent which was allotted to other regions in the North.
He advised the FCSC to correct the inequality in the 2106 recruitment exercise.
“The Federal Character Commission has viewed and observed with concern the recruitment exercises undertaken by the Federal Civil Service between 2013 and 2015, which glaringly is lopsided and grossly abused the principle of Federal Character to which all institution have subscribed,” the query, which was leaked to the press, said.
“The recruitment which recorded the engagement of about 4,904 workers, threw away all common sense and wisdom of national cohesion and integration by favouring some states to the detriment of others.
“We are worried that if this trend is allowed to continue, then some sections of the country may not only feel alienated but may feel insecure by the action of people in authority.
“It is inconceivable and a gross injustice for a geopolitical zone to be allocated 33.6 per cent of the total candidates recruited as against 26.2 per cent for three zones combined, North-East, North-West and North-Central.
“We further request without prejudice that all processes must involve the Federal Character Commission for advice and strict adherence to the principle of federal character as contained in our circular on guidelines and procedure for recruitment.”
The ICPC has intervened in the matter following the protest from 247 of the affected workers. The workers alleging that attempt to sack them is based on ethnic consideration and a plot to cover up fraud that were embedded in previous employment practices undertaken by the commission.
The workers had displayed documentary evidence of the exchange of letters between the commission and the office of the accountant general of the federation in which the appointments were verified.
However, Dr. Abel Oruche, the spokesperson for the FCSC told Punch that irregularly employed workers would be sacked, adding that he was oblivious of any interrogation of the chairman or any other member of the commission by the ICPC
“I’m not aware that anybody was interrogated by the ICPC or whether the chairman was invited. Nobody interrogated the chairman of the FCSC, any commissioner or any official.”