By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
Senate Committee on Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs, on Monday grilled representatives of the Federal Character Commission (FCC) with various questions relating to the alleged secret recruitment exercises being done by federal agencies.
The panel, led by its Chairman, Senator Danjuma La’ah (PDP Kaduna South) , asked the Secretary of the Commission, Mohammed Tukur, who led other management team to the Senate, to explain if he was aware of the recruitment exercises.
Tukur and his team were in the National Assembly to defend the 2020 budget proposal of his agency.
Members of the committee specifically asked the FCC to explain if due process was followed in the alleged recruitment exercise by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and other agencies.
Responding, Tukur told the committee that his agencies were aware of the alleged recruitment exercises by some agencies and that it had started investigating the allegations.
He promised to avail the committee, necessary information regarding his findings as soon as the probe had been concluded.
He also told journalists after his engagements with the Senate panel that the matter was already being investigated by his agency.
Tukur said, “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 the process can now be taken 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”.
Also fielding questions from journalists, Chairman of the Senate Committee, assured Nigerians that all affected agencies would be invited for questioning 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 am 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”.