đź””ILLEGAL JOB ENTITLEMENT: ICPC Accuses Ngige, As Senators Log heads Over Army Recruitment

Ngige, ICPC foght dirty over Indictment

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige says the case of illegal recruitment raised by the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye at the 3rd National Summit on Diminishing Corruption in the Public Service held on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, is an old Matter.

The Minister in a statement by the Deputy Director Press and Public Relations in the Ministry , Charles Akpan says the case is an old but ongoing investigation which the ICPC ought to have completed since the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige reported the matter, upon re-appointment as Minister in August 2019.

Ngige, while admitting that there was an illegal recruitment perpetrated between May 29, 2019 and August 2019 when the President dissolved his first term cabinet ,adds that upon re-appointment and resumption of duties as the Minister of Labour and Employment in August 2019, promptly raised it at the Federal Executive Council , necessitating a preliminary investigation by the office of the Head of Service of the Federation.

” The Ministry of Labour subsequently empaneled an Internal Investigative Committee in the Ministry to unearth how 752 senior and 532 junior staff members were recruited in the Ministry without Ministerial and Head of Civil Service of the Federation approval, as stipulated in the extant circular on recruitment, but Unfortunately, the activities of the Committee was stalled by the then Permanent Secretary who claimed that the ICPC has stepped into the matter …”

Ngige argues that “… the onus therefore lies squarely on the ICPC to break the syndicate which the Minister appropriately reported first at the Federal Executive Council and subsequently taken over by the ICPC since two and half years ago, instead of rehashing an old development and singling out for bad publicity, a Ministry whose Minister decided to blow the whistle on fraud as the Deputy Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Salaries saddled with the responsibility of bringing down undue personnel cost , especially via illegal recruitment .

The statement says The Ministry wishes to further note that every recruitment, especially of senior civil servants , pass through the Federal Civil Service Commission, in fact, solely authorized by it, and that The ICPC should therefore expand its investigation into the Federal Civil Service Commission to break the syndicate.

Meanwhile, in the red chambers of the Nigerian Senate, Tempers flared among members of the Senate Committee on Army on Tuesday over alleged lopsidedness in recent recruitments carried out by the Nigerian Army.

Trouble began over the alleged lopsided recruitment during an interactive session the Committee had with the Commander Training and Doctrine Command of the Nigerian Army , Major General S.O Olabanji.

Specifically , a member of the Committee who doubles as Deputy Minority Whip of the Senate , Senator Abdullahi Ibrahim Danbaba ( PDP Sokoto South ) , during the session took up Major General Olabanji on alleged lopsided nature of recruitment carried out by the Army recently .

But the acting Chairman of the Committee , Senator Abba Moro ( PDP Benue South) who presided over the session , ruled Danbaba out of order , saying ” this meeting is not for such enquiry ” .

Apparently irked by the development , another member of the Committee, Senator Barinada Mpigi ( PDP Rivers South East ), raised the issue again , saying ” lopsidedeness in recruitment is not an issue to be put aside or rule against ” .

But Senator Moro again ruled against the enquiry insisting that the session was not for review of recruitment made by the Army but on tactical Training and Doctrine of men and officers .

” The questions being raised by my colleagues on alleged lopsided recruitments , are being thrown to the wrong person . The Chief of Army Staff , Lt – Gen Farouk Yahaya is the one who can do justice to such allegation or enquiry”, he said.

Angered by the insistence of Abba Moro that questions on recruitment should be entertained at the Session, Senators Danbaba and Mpigi stormed out of the meeting in anger .

Expressing his anger to journalists on what transpired at the session,
Senator Danbaba said he walked out from the meeting with Senator Mpigi based on dictatorial action of Senator Moro .

” He shouldn’t have ruled us out of order since the Military man the question was directed to , did not complain.

” The issue of marginalization in recruitment has never been responded to, it is part of the oversight process of the committee to ensure that whatever is to be done should be done to ensure Justice, the Nigerian army like any institution of government in Nigeria is supposed to comply with provisions of the Constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and that constitution has made it very clear that the issue of federal character and representation is paramount is a constitutional issue .

“I’m not blaming the army, the army has been performing very well, but at the same time the issue of recruitment is very very important.

” I left the meeting, I stormed out with Mpigi because we were angry”, he said .

Defending his action , Abba Moro in a counter interview with journalists , said he had no any regret for ruling Danbaba out of order as far as the issue of alleged lopsided recruitment was concerned .

” Danbaba and Mpigi ‘questions were directed to a wrong person . What explanation were they expecting from Commander , Training and Doctrine Command on recruitment .

” Besides , the Committee had tabled the issue before the Chief of Army Staff few months ago with response bordering on physical and medical reasons for those recruited and those who failed in the exercise.

Strong indications however emerged that leadership of the Senate will address the matter as Danbaba was seen taking the matter to the Leader of the Senate , Senator Yahaya Abdullahi ( APC Kebbi North ) .