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Senate Probes Money-For- Employment, Racketeering In MDAs

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ABUJA, January 16, (THEWILL) - The Senate on Wednesday resolved to carry out a thorough probe into reports of unwholesome employment irregularities such as cash-for-recruitment in all Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the country.

The resolution was sequel to a motion sponsored by Senator Abubakar Bagudu, titled “Employment irregularities in the Nigerian Immigration Services and other Ministries, Departments and Agencies in Nigeria.”

The Senate Committees on Federal Character and Inter-governmental Affairs, as well as that of Employment, Labour and Productivity, were given the marching order to “holistically” carry out the investigation .

Leading debate on the motion, Bagudu noted with serious concern media stories on irregularities in employment at the Nigerian Immigration Services, Nigerian Customs Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and other Ministries, Departments and Agencies in Nigeria.

He also noted that, according to statement credited to the Comptroller General of Nigerian Immigration Service, over 4,000 employment slots were approved by the Federal Government but were being sold to job applicants and some allocated to various other personalities, whereas due process involving advertisement for interested members of the public to apply have not been observed.

The lawmaker further observed that employment letters were allegedly offered for sale at between N400,000 and N500,000 by the syndicate whose operational base are in Gwagwalada , Karu and other places.

He added that the “recruitment exercise favoured some states of the federation which is a total negation of the federal character principle.”

Most of the Senators who spoke on the motion said the heads of the paramilitary agencies and heads of MDAs should be fired if their MDAs are found culpable.They also complained of being bombarded with calls and requests from their constituents to endorse their application letters for jobs as requested by the MDAs.

Describing the level of unemployment as very worrisome, they expressed fears that the new dimension of bribe-for-job escalation in MDAs is a time bomb waiting to explode.

Nonetheless, the President of the Senate, David Mark, while giving a final remark on the motion, advised the Senators who had experiences with the racketeers to appear before the committee with their constituents who made such claims of extortion.

“I recommend that those of you who have such experiences should go to the committees to testify with your constituents who made the claims, because I don’t want people to be making general statements here,” he said.

He also warned that lawmakers who are used to issuing letters to people for them to get jobs at the agencies, should be prepared to face the MDAs’ Chief Executives who would be summoned because they might confront them with the letters sent to them from lawmakers.

“If any of you have been giving out letters, when you summon the MDAs, they will come with the letters and say you are the ones that have asked them to be biased, that is why I don’t give out letters.

“This is truly a serious thing in the land. We have to minimise it even if we cannot completely eliminate it. We can do this if the private and public sectors provide enough jobs for the unemployed,” Mark said.