Abuja — The Federal Character Commission (FCC) yesterday admitted knowledge of the alleged secret recruitment in federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
The Secretary of FCC, Mohammed Tukur, who made this disclosure yesterday while appearing before the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs to defend the commission's 2020 budget estimate, however, said the FCC had commenced investigation into the allegation.
He told the committee that his agency was aware of the alleged secret recruitment exercises by some agencies and had started investigating the allegations.
He promised to avail the committee with the necessary information regarding FCC's findings as soon as the probe was concluded.
Tukur also told journalists after his engagements with the Senate committee that the matter was already being investigated by his agency.
"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," he added.
Tukur outlined the four stages that a recruitment exercise must pass through, saying "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," he said.
The Senate committee led by its Chairman, Senator Danjuma La'ah, had earlier asked the secretary of the commission, who led other management team to the Senate, to explain if he was aware of the recruitment exercises.
He 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.
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.
"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 doubt 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", La'ah stated.