The jobs of 4,904 civil servants, who were recruited by the Federal Civil Service Commission in the last administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, are under threat as the Federal Character Commission has queried the exercise.
It was learnt on Monday that moves by the Federal Civil Service Commission to sack the workers had led to a crisis in the civil service.
No fewer than 247 of the affected workers had petitioned the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission over a plan by the FCSC to sack them.
The Acting Executive Chairman of the Federal Character Commission, Dr. Shettima Abba, had queried the Chairman of the FCSC, Mrs. Joan Ayo, for alleged violation of the principle of federal character in the employment of the civil servants in a letter dated May 3, 2016.
He said the recruitment, which took place between 2013 and 2015, was characterised by a flagrant abuse of the Federal Character principle.
Abba alleged that the recruitment was tilted in favour of the South-South geopolitical zone against other parts of the country.
He pointed out that the South-South got 33.6 per cent of those employed as against the 26.2 per cent allotted to applicants from for the North-East, North-West and North-Central geopolitical zones.
He directed the civil service commission’s boss to ensure that the perceived inequality was addressed in the 2016 recruitment by the commission in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Character Commission.
Abba stated, “The Federal Character Commission has viewed and observed with concern the recruitment exercises undertaken by the Federal Civil Service between 2013 and 2015, which glaringly is lopsided and grossly abused the principle of Federal Character to which all institution have subscribed.
“The recruitment which recorded the engagement of about 4,904 workers, threw away all common sense and wisdom of national cohesion and integration by favouring some states to the detriment of others.
“We are worried that if this trend is allowed to continue, then some sections of the country may not only feel alienated but may feel insecure by the action of people in authority.
“It is inconceivable and a gross injustice for a geopolitical zone to be allocated 33.6 per cent of the total candidates recruited as against 26.2 per cent for three zones combined, North-East, North-West and North-Central.
“We further request without prejudice that all processes must involve the Federal Character Commission for advice and strict adherence to the principle of federal character as contained in our circular on guidelines and procedure for recruitment.”
Investigations revealed that the ICPC intervened in the matter following a protest by 247 of the workers whose jobs were allegedly declared irregular, null and void by the chairman of the FCSC.
A top source at the commission said the ICPC interrogated the chairman of the commission and other top officials to defend allegations that they violated the federal character principle in the last recruitment.
The ICPC had intervened following a staff audit by the FCSC in which it took a decision to sack the affected federal workers.
Consequently, agitated workers wrote the ICPC, alleging that the move to sack them was based on ethnic consideration and a plot to cover up fraud and irregularities in previous employments undertaken by the commission.
The workers showed documentary evidence of exchange of letters between the commission and the office of the Accountant General of the Federation in which the appointments were authenticated.
But the spokesperson for the FCSC, Dr. Abel Oruche, told one of our correspondents on the telephone that only those employed irregularly would be removed.
He also said he was not aware of the interrogation of the chairman or any other officer of the commission by the ICPC.
He stated, “I’m not aware that anybody was interrogated by the ICPC or whether the chairman was invited. Nobody interrogated the chairman of the FCSC, any commissioner or any official.”
Oruche explained that some people were employed without vacancies, adding that the staff audit was aimed at fishing out such people.
He stated, “The press statement we sent was not reactive, but to explain to people what we have done and what we are doing to avoid rumour or insinuations.
“It is an ongoing audit to make sure that all those people, who were employed irregularly without existing vacancies, are removed. We didn’t issue the statement because somebody called us.”
Also, in an electronic mail sent to one of our correspondents on Sunday, Oruche stated that the FCSC chairman had said the staff audit at the federal civil service had revealed some unauthorised appointments.
Such appointments, the chairman said, had been declared null and void.
According to him, the chairman explained that the staff audit was aimed at fishing out irregular appointees and delisting them from the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System.
He stated, “The chairman maintained that this action is necessary because the appointments are not backed by any vacancy from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and as such, were not budgeted for.
Besides, they are in gross violation of the Federal Character principle.”
Gold Gained Ahead of Joe Biden Inauguration 2021
Gold price rose from one and a half month low on Tuesday ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.
The precious metal, largely regarded as a haven asset by investors, edged up by 0.2 percent to $1,844.52 per ounce on Tuesday, up from $1,802.61 on Monday.
He said, “The key factor appears to be the (U.S.) currency.”
As expected, a change in administration comes with the change in economic policies, especially taking into consideration the peculiarities of the present situation. In fact, even though Biden, Janet Yellen and the rest of the new cabinet are expected to go all out on additional stimulus with the support of Democrats controlled Houses, economic uncertainties with rising COVID-19 cases and slow vaccine distribution remained a huge concern.
Also, the effectiveness of the vaccines can not be ascertained until wider rollout.
Still, which policy would be halted or sustained by the incoming administration remained a concern that has forced many investors to once again flee other assets for Gold ahead of tomorrow’s inauguration.
Crude Oil Holds Steady Above $55 Per Barrel on Tuesday
Brent Crude oil, against which Nigerian crude oil is priced, rose from $54.46 per barrel on Monday to $55.27 per barrel as of 9:03 am Nigerian time on Tuesday.
Last week, Brent crude oil rose to 11 months high of $57.38 per barrel before pulling back on rising COVID-19 cases and lockdowns in key global economies like the United Kingdom, Euro-Area, China, etc.
While OPEC has left 2021 oil demand unchanged and President-elect Joe Biden has announced a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, experts are saying the rising number of new cases of COVID-19 amid poor vaccine distribution could drag on growth and demand for oil in 2021.
On Friday, Dan Yergin, vice-chairman at IHS Markit, said in addition to the stimulus package “There are two other things that are going with it … one is of course, vaccinations — in the sense that eventually this crisis is going to end, and maybe by the spring, lockdowns will be over.”
“The other thing is what Saudi Arabia did. This is the third time Saudi Arabia has made a sudden change in policy in less than a year, and this one was to announce (the) 1 million barrel a day cut — partly because they are worried about the impact of the surge in virus that’s occurring,” he said.
Also, the stimulus being injected into the United States economy could spur huge Shale production and disrupt OPEC and allies’ efforts at balancing the global oil market in 2021.
Crude Oil Pulled Back Despite Joe Biden Stimulus
Crude oil pulled back on Friday despite the $1.9 trillion stimulus package announced by U.S President-elect, Joe Biden.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria’s oil is priced, pulled back from $57.38 per barrel on Wednesday to $55.52 per barrel on Friday in spite of the huge stimulus package announced on Thursday.
On Thursday, OPEC, in its latest outlook for the year, said uncertainties remain high in 2021 with the number of COVID-19 new cases on the rise.
OPEC said, “Uncertainties remain high going forward with the main downside risks being issues related to COVID-19 containment measures and the impact of the pandemic on consumer behavior.”
“These will also include how many countries are adapting lockdown measures, and for how long. At the same time, quicker vaccination plans and a recovery in consumer confidence provide some upside optimism.”
Governments across Europe have announced tighter and longer coronavirus lockdowns, with vaccinations not expected to have a significant impact for the next few months.
“The complex remains in pause mode, a development that should not be surprising given the magnitude of the oil price gains that have been developing for some 2-1/2 months,” Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, said.
Still, OPEC left its crude oil projections unchanged for the year. The oil cartel expected global oil demand to increase by 5.9 million barrels per day year on year to an average of 95.9 million per day in 2020.
But also OPEC expects a recent rally and stimulus to boost U.S. Shale crude oil production in the year, a projection Investors King experts expect to hurt OPEC strategy in 2021.
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