By: Joy Odor/Abuja
The Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs had intensely interrogated representatives of the Federal Character Commission over the alleged secret recruitment exercises done by federal agencies.
The Committee, Chaired by Senator Danjuma La’ah (PDP, Kaduna South), quizzed the Commission, when its management team appeared before the Senate Panel to defend the 2020 budget of the establishment.
Determined to get to the root of the matter, the lawmakers, asked the Secretary of the FCC, Mohammed Tukur, who led the management team of the Commission to the Senate, to explain what he knew about the alleged fraudulent exercise.
They asked the FCC management team to explain if due process was followed in the alleged recruitment exercise by the Federal Inland Revenue Service and other agencies.
Responding, Tukur told the Committee that his agency was aware of the alleged recruitment exercises by some agencies and that it had started investigating the allegations.
The Chairman assured the legislators that the Commission would avail the committee, all requisite information regarding his findings as soon as the probe had been concluded.
Addressing journalists at the end of the budget defence session with the Senate Committee, the FCC boss reiterated that the matter was being investigated by his agency.
His words: “some members of the Senate Committee raised the issue of the recruitment exercises going on particularly the one of an agency and we said the issue is being addressed. All other issues that were brought to the attention of the commission are actually being addressed.
“Normally before any recruitment could take place, it has to pass through four stages. There must be approval from the office of the Head of Service, and there must be budgetary approval from the budget office.
“Then you will come to the Federal Character Commission for the Character Balancing Index which would indicate the states that should be prioritised and those that should not be prioritised.
“This is because states that are under-represented in that agency that is recruiting would be addressed. It is after this had been done that we you will go back to the Accountant General who will give you the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System number platform as directed by the President.
“It is not one agency affair. In some of the agencies, you don’t need to go to the office of the Accountant General to recruit. We attend to all issues brought before us and we ensure that justice, fairness and equity are reflected in our reports.
Similarly, in an interview with journalists, the Committee Chairman, also assured Nigerians that all affected agencies would be invited for interrogation as soon as investigations had been concluded.
He said: “I have gone deep in the investigation and I’m doing everything possible to get facts. I will give the necessary updates and information when we conclude our findings.
“You can see that my members were agitated, trying to raise their voices but I asked them to take it easy and let us get to the root of the matter.
“If we are able to prove our case beyond reasonable doubts after our preliminary investigations, then we will start our probe by inviting the affected agencies.
“I’m aware that many Nigerians are worried and they want to know what is happening on the matter. Justice would definitely be done and we would expose all culprits”.