The Federal Government yesterday cancelled the controversial recruitment being done by the Nigerian Immigration Service following reports of slanted distribution of job slots as well as failure to advertise the vacancies.
Daily Trust reported in its edition of yesterday that the Immigration service has been conducting a secret recruitment exercise that allegedly favoured the Southeast, just three months to the exit of Controller General Mrs. Rose Chinyere Uzoma.
In a statement in Abuja yesterday, the Interior Ministry ordered that the exercise be canceled “until a more transparent, acceptable” procedure is adopted.
“Minister of Interior Comrade Abba Moro has directed the cancellation of the ongoing recruitment exercise in the Nigeria Immigration Service,” a statement by the minister’s spokesman Ubong George Udoh said.
“(The) Minister stated that following apparent controversy trailing the ongoing recruitment exercise in Nigeria Immigration Service, the responsible thing to do is to cancel the exercise until a more transparent, acceptable and effaceable platform is established to enlist qualified Nigerians into the service.
“Comrade Moro directed further that all appointment letters issued and documentations carried out stand cancelled, until the Civil Defence, Immigration and Prisons Service Board, meet to consider the waivers granted Nigeria Immigration service to recruit men and women into the service.
“Finally the Honorable Minister has also directed that forthwith all recruitment into the services of the Federal Fire Service, Nigerian Prisons Service, Nigeria Immigration Service and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps are suspended until a more transparent exercise based on already established guidelines before such requirements will be conducted.”
Yesterday’s cancellation of the recruitment came on the heels of a probe opened by the House of Representatives Committee on Federal Character which had also asked the Immigration service to suspend the exercise.
Daily Trust reported yesterday that Uzoma appeared before the House committee last week to defend accusations of failure to publicly advertise vacancies and giving undue favouritism to the Southeast.
She told the lawmakers that the service did not advertise the jobs so as not to unknowingly employ terrorists, but the lawmakers reminded her that even the Military and Police are advertising their vacancies in spite of the prevailing insurgency.
She also said she had already obtained approval from the Head of Service of the Federation to employ 4,560 people.
The House committee found out that out of the over 25,000 existing Immigration staff, Uzoma’s husband’s state of origin Imo has the highest number with 1,190; Kano has 350; Lagos has 400; while Sokoto has the least with 200.
In the now cancelled recruitment exercise, Uzoma had offered hundreds of job slots to top government functionaries, including the Presidency which is offered 250 slots, Jonathan’s mother 40 slots, First Lady 100 slots, Interior Minister Abba Moro 100 slots, two commissioners of the Immigration board 30 slots each, and the Federal Character Commission 250 slots.
A source said the Federal Character Commission was given those job slots for giving the Immigration service waiver on the advertisement of the vacancies, but the commission’s spokesman Usman Jimada denied any wrongdoing.
Spokesman for the Immigration service Mr. Olumbar Joachim said on Sunday he was not aware of the Presidency getting offers to fill certain vacancies but added that there was nothing wrong with the Presidency or other officials making recommendations to the service.