By Francis Arinze Iloani
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recruited 909 staff in two years without advertising the vacancies, Daily Trust investigations have revealed.
The whole affair is now a subject of investigation by the Federal Character Commission (FCC) to determine if due process was violated.
The FCC is the body responsible for ensuring equity, fairness and balance in all employments into government establishments.
Investigations showed that some of the basic requirements for employment were not followed in the recruitment. For instance, the various positions to be filled by candidates were not advertised, and the figures also suggested that the exercise was lopsided in favour of certain sections of the country contrary to the provisions of the federal character.
Details of the recruitment, carried out between June 2014 and February 2015 showed that out of the 909 staff engaged, 213 of them are from the South-South region, CBN governor’s geo-political zone.
Others are North Central, 178; South West, 176; South East,158; North West,104 and North East 80.
The five executive positions (Assistant Directors) come from Edo, Abia, Anambra, Oyo and Benue states.
About 411 others occupy senior positions from the rank of senior supervisors and principal managers.
A total of 491 staff were employed to fill junior positions over the period with the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) accounting for 11 slots.
State by state breakdown of the beneficiaries showed that Delta State had the highest number with 78.
Oyo, Imo and Edo States have 48, 42 and 41. Other states are Zamfara, 2; Yobe, 3 and Jigawa, 3.
Commenting on the situation, the Acting Chairman of the Federal Character Commission (FCC), Dr. Shettima Bukar Abba, told Daily Trust that his Commission was investigating the recent recruitments at the CBN.
Speaking to the Daily Trust in his office in Abuja recently, Dr. Abba said he was investigating whether or not the CBN had followed due process in its recruitments, if it got the necessary approvals from the Commission before embarking on the recruitment and whether or not it got a waiver not to advertise the vacancies.
“In terms of lopsidedness, we have to look at it also. This may even lead us to go court if it happens that there is some marginalisation or lopsidedness in favour of certain states or certain areas,” he said.
On whether or not the CBN got the nod of the Commission before embarking on the recruitments, the Acting DG said, “Since I came, they have not written anything to me, but I was made to clearly understand that they have some discussions, some approvals from the previous Chairman of the Commission.
“I have now asked them to let me see the nominal roll for the whole year and then those they intend to recruit and those that they have already recruited and the letter that gave them permission not to advertise.”
He revealed that before he assumed office two months ago, the Commission operated under committees and that the CBN happens to be under the Financial Services Committee, which dealt directed with the CBN on the recruitments.
He said upon assuming office about two months ago, he invited the CBN’s Human resource director who told him that the CBN got a waiver not to advertise the vacancies to avoid a recurrence of the Immigration recruitment tragedy.
“The human resource director came here and we said look, you people are recruiting. You have done the recruitment. She said yes that we have got approval and our recruitment is not an immediate recruitment that they are doing and that they have been doing it in stages for a certain period.”
On why the CBN refused to advertise its vacancies, Dr. Abba said, “The reason they gave me was that because of what happened in the Immigration. They don’t want to come out and fully advertise that they are going to recruit. That if they are doing it, it will create some form of pandemonium. So, they requested for a waiver not to advertise. But all other processes were followed. So, we are now investigating to find out how many they have recruited and what are the various positions that they have recruited.”
He added: “I checked the files. We have not given them the certificate of compliance for the people they took. It means they are still in the process of documenting what they have taken prior to my coming.”
When contacted, the CBN’s acting Director of Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okorafor, said he needed time to respond to the issues raised on the recruitment.
Several text messages and calls were put through to his phone as reminders but he did not answer them. The last response he sent to our reporter at about 4:22pm yesterday read: “sorry, I’m in a meeting.”
A source at the CBN said the recruitment scandal had generated internal protest at the apex bank. The management has now redeployed the Director Human Resources that reportedly supervised the exercise, Mrs Chizoba Mojekwu to Training and Human Development Department.
The CBN had in an earlier comment on its recruitment policy stated :
“All appointments shall be made on the basis of merit, through a fair and open selection process. The principles underlying the recruitment process are those of fairness, credibility, equal employment opportunities, merit and optimisation of career prospects for currently employed staff.”
In September last year, the bank issued a statement signed by the former director, Corporate Communications, Ibrahim Mu’azu denying any general recruitment in the bank .
Mu’azu emphasised that the Bank would not embark on general recruitment exercise without due process.
“Whenever the Bank is ready to do this it will be duly publicized through its website, and other media platforms available to it, without a fee,” the statement added.
But Daily Trust learnt that the last time the bank publicly recruited workers was in 2013, after it announced and advertised the exercise in the media. A source said the bank recruited almost every month, since June 2014.