House Bans Fees in Civil Service Recruitment Process. •Asks immigration, prisons, civil defence to make refunds

The House of Representatives Wednesday  directed the boards  of the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to stop forthwith the collection of application fees  in their  recruitment programmes.
It specifically ordered  the NIS to stop with immediate effect,  the collection of N1,000 application fees it has been collecting from  applicants and to  also make refunds  to those who had already paid the said fees.
The  committee has also  directed  the Secretary of the Board of the NIS  to produce  the consultants  handling the current recruitment exercise,  the bank accounts which the applicants have been  paying  monies  into as well as the  amount so far collected  to date.
The directives came as the  Joint Committees on Public Service Matters, Employment, Labour Productivity and Anti-Corruption, National Ethics and Values commenced investigations into  allegations of job  racketeering in the recruitment into the Federal  Public Service.
The investigation followed public out cry on incidents of racketeering in  recruitment into the Federal Civil  Service. So far, the probe has revealed that apart from the illegal application fees,  most Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have jettisoned Public Service Rules on recruitment and adopted extraneous methods of  selection of applicants through the back door.
The Chairman, House Committee on Public Service Matters, Hon. Andrew Uchendu, said there was no reason why  a Nigerian citizen should  be made to pay N1,000 for a job he was not sure of getting.
Uchendu described the practice of job racketeering as  illegal and unacceptable  in Nigeria.
Uchendu also directed  the NCS to provide the committee with its nominal roll and the list of all officers enlisted into the service in 2011.
The data, he said, should include their grade  levels, states of origin  and their qualifications.
In the case of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), it was discovered that the commission had been recruiting its staff over the  years  without following the due process.
Director of Human Resources at  the commission. Mrs Laraba Shuaib, however,  said the trend was  being  reversed to bring it in conformity with the civil service rules and regulations.
The acting Chairman of the Federal Character Commission, Alhaji Ibrahim Lawal Funtau accused all the MDAs and the Federal Civil Service  Commission of not following due process in the recruitment  of staff despite all reminders on the need to follow due process in line with civil service rules.
Funtau  commended the House  for embarking on the investigation, saying it  would expose the rot in the system.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Tambuwal, who declared the investigation opened,  vowed that the House would do everything within its powers  to put an end to the ugly development.
“It is tragic that in a nation with such a high degree of unemployment, people can be so heartless as to make job-seekers pay for the opportunity of contributing their quota to the development of their father-land.
This means that however qualified they are, unless they can cough out the bribe, they won’t get the job.
“There is no doubt that the rise in violent crime today is related to the fact that millions of our people are jobless and therefore more vulnerable and easier to lure into a life of crime.
“This situation cannot be allowed to continue. We are denying our youth the opportunity to provide our country with the right manpower. We are throwing away any chance we have of staffing our ministries and agencies with the calibre of people that can translate government policies into action”, Tambuwal said.

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