The Senate has condemned illegal recruitments by Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, warning that it is a threat to Nigeria’s unity.
The legislative arm is now moving to criminalise secret recruitment into government agencies.
This was made known at the plenary on Wednesday when the upper chamber of the National Assembly passed a bill sponsored by Senator Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti South) for second reading.
It was titled ‘A Bill for An Act to Make It an Offence for Vacant Positions in the Federal Civil Service to be Filled Without Their Being Advertised and For Other Matters Connected Therewith, 2017’.
The bill, if passed into law by the National Assembly and assented to by the President, will make any senior government official, who approved an illegal recruitment, liable to same offence and punishment.
Section 2 of the proposed law reads, “(1) Any person, who violates the provisions of Section 1, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N300,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years or to both.
“Where a federal ministry, agency or parastatal commits an offence under subsection (1), any officer, director or agent of the federal ministry, agency or parastatals, who directed, authorised, assented to or acquiesced to or participated in the commission of the offence, is a party to and guilty of the offence and is liable on conviction to the punishment provided for the offence, whether or not the federal ministry, agency or parastatal has been prosecuted for or convicted for the offence.”
The bill proposes that it should be an offence for any Federal Government ministry, agency or parastatal to fill a vacancy in its establishment unless the vacancies were placed on their notice board for three months before the commencement of the recruitment.
It also proposes that the vacancies and the positions, with the requirements, are sent to the Federal Civil Service Commission immediately upon the existence of such vacancies for appropriate action.
It also proposes that after the FCSC has been notified, it is expected to, on a monthly basis, publish every vacancy in the federal service in two national newspapers and one local newspaper in each state of the federation.
Senate President Bukola Saraki, in his remarks after the passage, described it as “a very important bill” and “a bill for the people.”
He added, “This bill will definitely help every Nigerian to feel some sense that there is an opportunity to be able to apply (for jobs) and have the fighting chance.
“For the first time, it will also hold heads of government agencies responsible to ensure compliance or they face punitive measures. We will try and ensure that this bill is fast-tracked so that, quickly, we can pass it and it can start being implemented.”
Olujimi, while leading the debate on the bill, said it had become common knowledge that employment in government parastatals in most cases was not based on merit “as ‘godfatherism’, favouritism, nepotism and ethnicity have taken the front burner.”
Supporting the bill, Senator James Manager condemned the non-enforcement of the Federal Character Principle.
Also, Senator Suleiman Adokwe noted that the lawmakers massively supported the bill as most of them were being blackmailed into looking for jobs by their constituents. – Punch.