Federal ministries to sack 3500 workers

Despite the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria, the federal government has penned down about 3500 civil servants for dismissal over what it calls “irregular appointments/unauthorised appointment issue.”
Investigation by our reporter revealed that almost all the ministries are affected. But according to the Federal Character Commission, the most affected ministries are Education, Health, Science and Technology, Information, Finance, and Transportation.

However, 2100 of these workers are from the South-South, SouthEast and South-West geo-political zones of the country.

Investigations have also shown that the Ministry of Communication has compiled 66 names of staff for sack and that is the least of all affected ministries.

On the list, which was exclusively obtained by our correspondent, out of the 66 staff members to be sacked in the Ministry of Communication, 41 are from the South-South. South-West accounts for 25, while South-East and North-Central account for eight and three, respectively.

No staff from the North-East or North-West is to be sacked. In the same ministry, Delta accounts for the highest number of people to be sacked with 14, while Akwa Ibom, Imo and Lagos account for six indigenes each to be sacked.

The document was signed on January 17, 2017 and sources say the affected members of staff were aware of the development but are yet to be formally notified.

In the Ministry of Finance, a total 503 staff are said to be on the sacked list with disproportionate distribution across geo-political zones, as the Southern zone still accounts for the highest number. Majority are from the South-East, while South-West accounts for the second highest and South-South comes third, with North-Central accounting for the highest number in the North, generally.

The Ministry of Education has the highest number of those to be sacked, with a total 809, according to one of the sources affected.

The source said the list has not been concluded, adding that it might be up to 1000. Mr. Joe Oruche, Head, Press and Public Relations of the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC), a body constitutionally tasked with the recruitment, promotion and dismissal of workers in all ministries, confirmed the fact that the Ministry of Education has the highest number of people to be sacked.

He said when the exercise is completed, a huge number of staff would be removed from the system. Also, in the Ministry of Health, over 700 people would be sacked, according to a source.

Surprisingly, however, the ministries are still carrying out recruitment exercise, a development, which Mr. Oruche confirmed, adding that the number of those to be appointed will not be more than 2000.

However, Mr. Oruche said those to be sacked are among those, whose appointments were “irregular and unauthorised.” According to him, “irregular appointments are appointments that are not backed by approved declared vacancies, in which case, government does not have the financial provision for them.”

He pointed out that the sack has become necessary because the “commission has discovered a lot of irregular appointments, which are not backed by approved declared vacancies.
All appointment letters have a stipulated validity period of two months within which they must be accepted, failing which the offer will lapse.

“Where some were backed by approved declared vacancies, the offers were not accepted within the stipulated two months.

The commission also observed that some letters were out rightly fake and some of these fake ones are under investigation,” he declared. He added that “No matter how long the process and how well perfected the irregularity might be, when the arms of the law catches up with an offender, he or she will have to pay the price. Both the culprit and the accomplice will be brought to book.”

The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism was said to have also compiled its list, which according to a source, would affect 670 staff. Still, majority of those affected are from the South.

Our correspondent found out that some of these ministries are going ahead with the sack and employing other staff without recourse to the constitutional mandate of the Federal Civil Service Commission.

It was also discovered that some of the staff listed to be sacked, but have influential persons within the system, are being reassigned to different ministries, where they would be protected by highly placed individuals.

For instance, in the Ministry of Communication, investigations showed that a certain female staff works in both the ministry and a private telecom firm. She was appointed to level 08 of the civil service, but rejected the appointment, saying the salary was too low. She was later promoted to level 09 in the same ministry before she accepted the appointment

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