This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: FRCN - Abnormal Staff Strength Worries Stakeholders

The Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), the custodian of Nigerian FM Stations is currently grappling with the challenge of overstaffing, THISDAY findings have revealed.

The employment racketeering, which has pitched the Director-General of the corporation, Mr. Yusuf Nuhu, against some stakeholders is alleged to be as a result of the influence of some National Assembly members, especially its committees on Federal Character Commission (FCC) and Information on Nuhu.

As a result of this, subtle campaign is currently going on among some top functionaries in the organisation on the need to prune down its size of staff to enable the network cope with its technical and other operational demands.

The recruitments, according to THISDAY investigations were said to have been done by the director-general, ostensibly to curry favours from National Assembly members and even the FCC members.

The investigation also showed that the relationship had made it impossible for the government agency to check the Nuhu's excesses.

The source said: "Over 1,400 senior staff members were recruited in the last one year and almost half of them were asked to go back home towards the end of the year and asked to come back in February. It is also ridiculous that some addresses of those newly recruited, were either in care of the National Assembly members or top management staff of the Federal Character Commission,"

But rather than blaming the director-general, an acting director, who spoke to THISDAY on the condition of anonymity absolved him and blamed members of the National Assembly, who he said, had turned FRCN to their private companies, through which they could make their constituents have access to national cake.

Against the laid-down rule that an FM station should accommodate 45 staff members, findings have revealed that most of the FM stations in Nigeria have more than twice that number.

In a document obtained at the Radio House Abuja by THISDAY, it was revealed that 14 candidates, who were employed on 5th of October, 2012, were all from members of the House Committees on Information and Federal Character. Another document, which had 15 candidates with fresh appointment and dated 2nd November, 2012, also revealed that they were from members of the two committees. In all, the total number of those employed under this circumstance amounted to 805.

As a result of this employment jamboree, stations, which are designed with only five small 10ft by 10ft offices, cannot accommodate the staff and this has led to a situation whereby some staff members sit at the reception area or under trees outside the buildings.

Meanwhile, the director-general has absolved himself of any complicity in the employment saga. He argued that he followed due process and that the people being referred to were artists hired by the corporation to add creative depth to the stations' programme content, whose employment were later regularised.

Nuhu said: "What happened was that we regularised the employment status of about 1000 artist who were employed on contract basis, in line with the labour law and practice. It is a normal process that is also in line with Federal Character and in fact we did it in 2011 without anybody complaining until now when some distracters are bent on rubbishing whatever we have done in the corporation,"

The director-general, who admitted that most of the FM stations built in the year 2002 were small, further revealed that Nigeria could boast of 37 FM Stations, with 27 functioning well while only seven were yet to be completed.

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