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Monday, 1 August 2016

How minister revoked 245 NITDA recruitment

How minister revoked 245 NITDA recruitment
The Minister of Communication, Barrister Adebayo Shittu
The Minister of Communication, Barrister Adebayo Shittu has revoked the recruitment of 245 graduates as senior staff of the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) which was conducted in 2015 after his own state got only one slot, investigation by Daily Trust on Sunday has revealed.
Spokesperson of the Agency, Hajiya Hadiza Umar said the exercise was stopped by the Minister because the former Director General of NITDA, Mr. Peter Jack neglected due process in conducting the recruitment exercise.
Hadiza Umar told our reporter through telephone interview that “the employment process did not follow due process because employment letters were issued to the applicants even before the Federal Character Commission (FCC) granted waiver to the Agency to conduct the recruitment without advertising the available vacancies as required by law.”
She said the Minister stopped the recruitment process after realising that it did not follow laid down procedure and that “most of those employed don’t have the requisite skills to adequately bridge the manpower gap at the agency.”
But one of the successful applicants, who spoke to our reporter on condition of anonymity, said “the minister rejected the list because his state was not properly represented on the list of successful applicants. He has brought additional names that he wants added to the list that is the cause of the delay in posting the applicants.”
He said appointment letters were issued to the ‘successful applicants’ adding that “we have even done documentation and submitted details for our ID cards when the process was suspended. We were only waiting to be posted.”
The list of the successful applicants containing names of 245 graduates, including first degree and Higher National Diploma (HND) holders was approved by the Federal Character Commission (FCC) in a letter to NITDA dated 30th December, 2016.
FCC had in the letter obtained by our reporter conveyed its approval for the recruitment exercise and issuance of letters of appointment to successful applicants. “Having substantially complied with the provisions of our circular letter, I am to inform you that the Acting Chairman has acceded to your request.
“Consequently, I am to convey approval of a certificate of compliance in your favour as authority to issue letters of appointment to two hundred and forty five (245) successful candidates as contained in the list herewith attached,” the Federal Character Commission said in the letter signed by D. O. Fakeye, Director, Monitoring and Enforcement.
The commission also directed NITDA to issue letters of appointment to the 245 successful applicants “within three (3) months from the date of issuance of the Certificate (of Compliance), otherwise, it shall become lapse and shall require revalidation.”
However, seven months after the issuance of Certificate of Compliance by the FCC and completion of the recruitment process, NITDA is yet to absorb the 245 successful applicants.
Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that the minister’s state of origin, Oyo State, had the name, Agbaje Adewale Ifedapo as the only successful applicant that hails from the state.
Documents obtained by our reporter indicate that an additional list of 20 applicants was added as attachment for approval contrary to the provision of the Federal Character Commission directive stamped on the list of the successful candidates that “any alteration to this list without the prior consent of the Commission (FCC) renders it invalid and will attract appropriate penalties.”
A further look at the additional list revealed inconsistency’ as some of the names were repeated on both the list of successful applicants released by NITDA and the additional list allegedly drafted by the minister. For instance, Abioye Jimoh A.; who is captured on the list of successful candidates as a holder of B.Sc Data Analysis from Ogun state, was repeated on the additional list as holder of Master of Arts (MA) in Peace and Development Studies. Such discrepancy affects about 11 of the applicants, whose names are on both lists.
It was also found that the recruitment process was not advertised as NITDA requested for waiver from the FCC to make the recruitment exercise secret. NITDA in a letter dated November 6, 2015 to the FCC said “The Agency is presently growing its network of Zonal, States and LGA offices and has shortage of skilled professional manpower. We therefore wish to request for a waiver of advertisement to enable the Agency recruit 250 skilled staff in the senior and junior categories.
“We already have a pool of curriculum vitae from the previous recruitment exercises and the available vacancies will not be commensurate with the number of expected responses if advertised. We are also constrained for time as the exercises needs to be concluded within the shortest possible period.”
The request for waiver was approved by the FCC through a letter dated 14th December, 2015. The Commission said “based on the explanations offered by you (NITDA), the Commission has granted your request for waiver of advertisement only.”
Spokesperson of NITDA, Hajia Hadiza said the entire recruitment exercise had been cancelled and that the agency was in the process of conducting a fresh exercise. According to her, “employment letters were issued to the applicants even before the waiver by FCC. The former DG did not even ask Heads of Departments to present Skill Gap Analysis before the exercise was conducted.
“We were just at the agency when we saw large number of people saying that they have been employed. They did not apply, they were only asked to send CVs. We were here, we did not know, we just saw new staff.”
She said the agency does not even have the capacity to appoint 245 staff saying “we presently have about 150 staff. The agency does not even have the financial capacity to employ 245 additional staff. Our total personnel cost is about N1.5 billion annually.”
Hajia Hadiza said the 245 applicants can reapply during the next round of recruitment exercise and “they will be considered if they fit into the positions that they are applying. Heads of Departments are presently conducting Skill Gap Analysis to determine vacancies in each department.” She also said there won’t be special consideration for such applicants.
She further stated that the next recruitment is to improve manpower at the Office of Nigeria Content (ONC) and the Office of IT and Entrepreneurship Innovation which are both under the Agency. “The number of vacancies will not even be more than ten (10)”, she said.
Hadiza Umar debunked the claim that the Minister stopped the process over personal interest, saying “it is not true; the minister did not cancel the process because he wanted some applicants to get the jobs. Let me tell you there were internal complaints from staff that have not been promoted since they were employed and suddenly 245 new staff were issued letters to come as their seniors. That was the beginning of the problem, it all started from internal complaints and there were also no spaces for the new employees.”
Efforts to get the minister’s reaction did not yield result as calls put to the phone of his media assistant were not answered and he did not respond to the text message sent to his mobile phone.
But the minister had earlier told Daily Trust on Sunday that the staff were only employed through the back door by a former NITDA Director General, Mr. Peter Jack.
Shittu said government cancelled their appointments because it was hurriedly done by the immediate past NITDA DG when he went ahead with the recruitment despite directive to the contrary.
Documents obtained by Daily Trust on Sunday however showed that the recruitment exercise was approved by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry. In response to a memo signed by Mr. Jack dated November 6, 2015, the Permanent Secretary gave a ‘no objection’ to the recruitment exercise.
Number of successful candidates according to states
1.    Abia State    4
2.    Adamawa State     9
3.    Akwa Ibom State    8
4.    Anambra State    10
5.    Bauchi State    6
6.    Bayelsa State    4
7.    Benue State    8
8.    Borno State    5
9.    Cross River State    17
10.    Delta State    16
11.    Ebonyi State    7
12.    Edo State    10
13.    Ekiti State    3
14.    Enugu State    10
15.    FCT    7
16.    Gombe State    8
17.    Imo State    7
18.    Jigawa State    8
19.    Kaduna State    9
20.    Kano State    9
21.    Katsina State    7
22.    Kebbi State    2
23.    Kogi State    9
24.    Kwara State    6
25.    Lagos State    3
26.    Nasarawa    5
27.    Niger State    5
28.    Ogun State    5
29.    Ondo State    4
30.    Osun State    5
31.    Oyo State    1
32.    Plateau State    8
33.    Rivers State    6
34.    Sokoto State    2
35.    Taraba State    3
36.    Yobe State    4
37.    Zamfara State     1

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