Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Reps Probe Alleged MDAS' Extortion of Job Seekers

Abuja — House of Representatives, yesterday, mandated its joint committee on Establishments, Employment, Labour and Productivity, and Anti-Corruption, National Ethics and Values to investigate alleged extortion of money from job seekers by government ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs.

A member of the House, Tajudeen Yusuf in a motion drew the attention of the House to the fact that MDAs were asking applicants to pay various sums of money, or acquire scratch cards to process their applications, describing the practice as unacceptable.

Also, in a resolution on another motion moved by Bashir Babaleh, the House mandated its committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) to investigate the persistent scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petrol, across the country, with a view to making appropriate recommendations on way out of the current scarcity.

Report of the committee's findings would be received by the House next Wednesday.

In his submissions, Babaleh regretted that the rate of such extortion from applicants had continued to rise annually, as officials of MDAs were taking undue advantage of job seekers. He said nothing was being done to check it.

In his contribution, Mr. Peter Akpatason described the practice as "annoying," noting that the practice was helping already gainfully employed public servants to make money in fraudulent manner from helpless job seekers.

Akpatason, who urged a public hearing to allow victims participate, was also angry that most of the times, secret replacements were being carried out in the MDAs against the rule that any such vacancy must be advertised.

Chairman of the House Committee on Public Petitions, Mr. Uzor Azubuike, called for the outright discouragement of MDAs asking applicants to obtain letters of recommendation from members of the National Assembly before being offered employment. He described the practice as "indirect blackmail" against members.

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