The House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee investigating employment racketeering by Ministries Departments and Agencies and Mismanagement of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System IPPIS on Monday queried the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) over what is described as lopsided employment in the agency.
The House probe panel had demanded that the agency immediately submit to it the list of all staff employed between 2015- 2023 and decried lack of adherence to extant regulation of the nation’s public service as it was discovered by the committee that JAMB employed 300 staff from 2015 till date, without advertising.
The Chairman of the Adhoc committee Hon Yussuf Gagdi issued the query when the Registrar of the board, Prof Ishaq Oloyede appeared before the committee.
According to Gagdi, the agency has shortchanged many Nigerians citizens according to their employment records.
He said that from the documents available to the probe panel, the examination body had been undertaking employement without due process of advertisement, shortlisting and interview of job seekers.
The lawmaker and other committee members noted that the agency has so far relied on waivers for recruitment of staff without adhering to the provisions of the law on non engagement of more than 100 staff annually.
Gagdi further added that the examination body in 2021 had employed more than 300 staff at one recruitment excercise without adhering to the extant provision of law on the issue.
He argued that recruiting about 300 staff through waiver was against the federal character, adding that a waiver is to be granted only if an agency is collapsing.
“What makes you think advertising wouldn’t have been better? You have the capacity to screen the people that apply to get better hands to do those jobs. I’m asking this because we are most interested in correcting the fraud associated with waivers”.
The Registrar of JAMB Professor Ishaq Oloyede, in his explanation said that the board followed the federal character principles in the job recruitment exercise it conducted from 2015 till date.
According to him, the Board had gotten waiver from the relevant agencies to employ staff to replace those that had left, adding that the board had five sets of recruitment in the period under review.
On why JAMB sought for waiver to recruit over 300 people instead of advertising, the Registrar, said that it was due to exigencies of duty, saying they had about twelve to thirteen centres coming on board and needed people to man them.
“We used the waiver because we believe the exigency of the time and the nature of our work deserves it. If we are to advertise for the three hundred, we wouldn’t be able to meet up with what we needed them for”.
“I believe very strongly that it was very very necessary at that time that we recruited and I assure you that we did not surcharge those who are qualified”.
He further explained that the alleged lopsided employement by the examination body was as a result of need to fill vacancies in the over 40 offices in different states of the federation and told the committee that most of the staff recruitment was done after consultation with state governors.
But the Committee Chairman Hon.Gagdi in his ruling said that the agency must submit the nominal roll of its staff recruited from 2015-2023 adding that there should be its tabulation state by state by the agency.
Meanwhile, the House Committee had taken more oral testimonies from Messers Babamasi Jalo, Abdulraziz Azara, Musa Ibrahim and two other victims of employment racketeering by the former Desk Officer of the Federal Character Commission FCC Mr.Haruna Kolo.
In his presentation before the House probe panel, Mr Jalo said that Kolo collected N1.2 Million from him for IPPIS capturing and asked him to look for other persons to be employed into the FCC and the National Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research Lagos for salary payment.
He also explained that he made several payments of huge funds into the accused man’s account number running into millions of naira adding that suspect told him that he transfers all the money to the chairperson of the commission.
The House Committee in a final ruling on the matter said that the panel is insistent that Haruna Kolo, the Director of IPPIS in the Office of Accountant-General of the Federation and the other accused persons in the saga must appear unfailingly before the probe panel before it concludes its sitting.