Nigerian protest over ‘illegal’ hiring of 530 aides and cronies into senior civil service

By on 26/06/2015

The union representing senior government officials in Nigeria has called on the government to urgently reform its recruitment system after it has been claimed that former president Goodluck Jonathan hired some 530 aides and cronies into the senior civil service in the last days of his administration.

Alade Lawal, the secretary-general of the Association of Senior Staff of Nigeria, (ASCSN), told Nigerian news website PUNCH that if urgent steps are not taken to “reverse this trend of illegal recruitment into the public service, the system may collapse and the government will not be able to effect the type of change it wants in the polity since the public service is the engine room that oils the wheels of government.”

His call comes after six deputy directors in the federal civil service in March this year took legal action to protest against the way in which the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) carried out the last round of promotion examinations to director-level, PUNCH reports.

Sources told The PUNCH in Abuja on Sunday that between the time Jonathan lost the presidential election of 11 April and the 29 May handover date, 530 persons from different backgrounds had their appointments into the civil service regularised.

A director in one of the sensitive ministries told PUNCH that the FCSC, through ‘‘crafty schemes’’, brought into the civil service “numerous aides of the former president Jonathan, vice president Namadi Sambo and ministers.

The director, who asked not to be named, said: “These new recruits are placed on very high grades as assistant directors, deputy directors, and directors.”

Another director told PUNCH: “Just anybody with the right connection or big purse can be promoted or transferred to the post of a director in the civil service today. These transfers are being done in violation of the extant public service rules, which the FCSC published and circulated to all government offices.”

The FCSC denies the allegations.

Its assistant director of press Dr. Joel Oruche told PUNCH: “At no time did the commission employ aides of former president, vice president, ministers or any key political figure in the Jonathan’s government, either as a parting gift or in compliance with a directive from the above-mentioned political figures.

“The FCSC, in the discharge of its mandate, has put in place, internal checks and balances in the process of appointments and promotion. This guarantees transparent [processes] that checkmates activities and antics of fraudsters, who are in the business of issuing fake appointment letters.”

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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