A web of scandal has enveloped the current recruitment exercise by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, with about 75 per cent of the 750 shortlisted candidates coming from the northern parts of the country.
Further investigations showed that the Human Resources Department of EFCC is being teleguided by a cabal that had before now become entrenched in the Commission and had serially frustrated the implementation of the federal character principle in its employment processes.
According to a petition sent to the Federal Character Commission (FCC) by a group known as “Good Governance and Anti-Corruption Mandate”, the non-inclusion of states of origin and the geo-political zones of the shortlisted candidates published by the EFCC is the major process through which the nepotic agenda would further be boosted.
Additional confirmation of this infraction on the EFCC website confirmed the lopsidedness. It also exposed the non-compliance with recruitment parameters set earlier in July this year by the EFCC Recruitment Committee headed by the Secretary of the Commission, Barr. Emmanuel Adegboyega Aremo, SAN.
The committee had then clearly stipulated that the new sets of personnel up from the Superintendent cadre (graduate cadre) should not exceed five persons from any of the states which had dominated others in the nominal roll listing.
The committee had at the end of its meeting recommended that a total of 750 new personnel comprising of 300 Detective Assistants (candidate with SSCE); 300 Detective Inspectors (candidates with OND/NCE) and 150 Detective Superintendents (candidates with HND or university degree holders) should be recruited.
But it was observed that the final round of the recruitment exercise which is currently going on at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base Hospital, Mando, Kaduna, falls short of merit, federal character, equity, balance, good conscience and fair judgment.
However, Head of Media Unit of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, stoutly defended the actions so far taken, insisting that this reporter could not have run into conclusions with a list that did not contain state of origin of the applicants.
“You have rightly observed that the list did not contain the state of origin of the applicants. How then can you conclude that a section of the country or a particular state was favoured? That is part of the yellow journalism which you people practice,” he stated.
When Uwujaren was pressed further to justify the non-inclusion of the states of origin of the applicants, he simply said it was not in breach of any law and cut off the telephone call, after raining abuses on the reporter that made the inquiry.
Investigations showed that instead of keeping to the advice of the Aremo Committee which had recommended that references be made to existing staff to ensure that the states and local government areas that are less represented in EFCC got beefed up in tune with the principle of federal character, the powers that be removed state and local government of origin of shortlisted candidates so as to blindfold the public and continue with the old order of nepotism and denial of spaces to candidates from the southern parts of the country as earlier recommended.
It was further discovered that after the written examination, at which it was decided that 50 candidates should each be shortlisted from the states with less representation and 20 from the states with high number of staff, states like Adamawa, Benue, Kogi, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Gombe, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Sokoto and Zamfara, with high number of staff, still dominated the published list of 4,542 candidates.
Another curious observation was that people with similar surnames featured so much in a long sequence on the list, lending credence to alleged primordial considerations. It was also learnt that the Federal Character Commission was not consulted nor due process followed, while candidates with scores as low as 20 marks were shortlisted in preference to candidate with up to 60 marks, especially if such candidates are from the South-East or South-South geo-political zones.
For instance, in the shortlisted candidates for the 150 vacancies declared for the rank of Detective Superintendent (DS), 2,673 candidates were shortlisted. Similarly, for selecting 300 officers for consideration for recruitment into the rank of Detective Inspectors, 524 were shortlisted. When tongues began to wag on the parameters used for arriving at the DS list, EFCC pulled down the original list from its web site.
Aside from this, insiders informed our reporter that some states had more than 500 out of the 4,542 shortlisted candidates, while states from the South-East and South-South had as low as four candidates which was why the state of origin of the candidates were expunged.
According to the Good Governance and Anti-Corruption Mandate, which is insisting on transparency, “even the process of choosing the corruption fighters is corrupt in itself. Federal Character was equally not observed in the published list”.
The group therefore urged President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and ensure that “the original examination sheets and the marking scheme be reviewed by an independent body comprising of proven men and women of integrity to ensure that only candidates who passed well get consideration from their states, as against what was being done by the EFCC.”
When contacted on the development, the Head, Public Affairs and Communication, of the Federal Character Commission (FCC), Mr. Idris Idris, confirmed that several people have been writing petitions to the FCC, but added that he is not aware of the petition by the “Good Governance and Anti-Corruption Mandate” against the EFCC recruitment exercise.
“I will get back to you on the issues you raised, but I can assure you that at every whenever the Federal Character Commission (FCC) discovers there is an infraction in keeping with federal character principles by any office, we normally call them to order. If we notice they do not want to comply, we act accordingly,” he stated.