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.”
Brent Crude Oil Extends Gain to $86.66 a Barrel Amid Tight Supply
Tight global oil supply pushed Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria oil is priced, to a multi-year high of $86.66 per barrel on Monday at 3:30 pm Nigerian time.
Oil price was lifted by rising fuel demand in the United States and tight global supply as economies recover from pandemic-induced slumps.
“The global energy supply crunch continues to show its teeth, as oil prices extend their upward march this week, a result of traders pricing in the ongoing rise in fuel demand – which amid limited supply response is depleting global stockpiles,” said Louise Dickson, senior oil markets analyst at Rystad Energy.
Goldman Sachs on the other hand is predicting a further increase in Brent crude oil to $90 a barrel, citing a strong rebound in global oil demand due to switching from gas to oil. This the bank estimated may contribute about 1 million barrels per day to global oil demand.
The investment bank said it expects oil demand to reach around 100 million barrels per day as consumption in Asia increases after the devastating effect of COVID-19.
“While not our base-case, such persistence would pose upside risk to our $90/bbl year-end Brent price forecast,” Goldman said in a research note dated Oct. 24.
Earlier this month, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and their allies, known as OPEC+ agreed to continue increasing oil supply by 400,000 bpd a month until April 2022 despite calls for an increase in global oil supplies.
The decision bolstered the price of Brent crude oil above $84 per barrel and expected to push the price even further to $90 a barrel. Low global oil supply amid rising demand for crude oil will continue to support oil prices in the near term.
“Despite the recent power cuts and impacts to industrial activity in China, oil demand is likely instead supported by switching to diesel powered generators and diesel engines in LNG trucks, as well as by a ramp up in coal production,” Goldman Sachs stated.
U.S. and Ghana Inaugurate New $64.7 Million Energy Infrastructure Investment at Pokuase
U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Stephanie Sullivan joined the President of Ghana H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo and other Ghana government officials to formally inaugurate the Pokuase Bulk Supply Point (BSP) in Accra today. The U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) funded the $64.7 million (GH₵ 391.9 million) electrical infrastructure project under the Ghana Power Compact.
“The Pokuase Bulk Supply Point represents sustainable infrastructure investment by the United States with Ghana that will benefit hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians now and into the future,” remarked Ambassador Sullivan at the inaugural event. “It will help deliver more reliable power to the people, places, and businesses of Accra that drive increased economic activity benefitting families, businesses, and communities.”
This represents a flagship investment under the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Ghana Power Compact. The Pokuase BSP will reduce outages in the power system, help stabilize voltages, and improve the quality and reliability of power supplied to the northern parts of the capital city of Accra. It will also reduce technical losses in the power transmission and distribution system, contributing to the financial viability of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) in the long term. The Pokuase BSP is now the largest-capacity BSP in Ghana at 580 megavolt amperes (MVA) and will directly benefit 350,000 utility customers.
The Government of Ghana implemented the project through the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA). MiDA formally handed over the new power substation to ECG and GRIDCo in today’s ceremony.
The Pokuase BSP is the first major construction project to be completed under the Ghana Power Compact. The $316 million compact is helping the Government of Ghana improve the power sector through investments that will provide more reliable and affordable electricity to Ghana’s businesses and households. The compact is also funding a BSP at Kasoa and two primary substations at Kanda and Legon, in addition to other power sector investments, energy efficiency programs, and women’s empowerment programs within the power sector. The compact program will officially close on June 6, 2022.
Oil Falls Slightly as China Steps in to Curb Rising Coal Prices
Global oil prices moderated slightly on Wednesday following the Chinese government’s decision to curb high coal prices and ensure coal mines function at maximum capacity.
Brent crude, against which Nigerian oil is priced, dropped to $83.98 per barrel at 11:00 am Nigerian time. While the U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell by 80 cents or 1 percent to $81.20 a barrel.
“China is planning to take steps to combat the steep rises in the domestic coal market … which could put considerable pressure on the coal price there and reverse the fuel switch to oil,” Commerzbank said.
Prices for Chinese coal and other commodities slumped in early trade, which in turn pulled oil down from an uptick earlier in the day.
China’s National Development and Reform Commission said on Tuesday it would bring coal prices back to a reasonable range and crack down on any irregularities that disturb market order or malicious speculation on thermal coal futures. read more
Oil markets in general remain supported on the back of a global coal and gas crunch, which has driven a switch to diesel and fuel oil for power generation.
But the market on Wednesday was also pressured by data from the American Petroleum Institute industry group which showed U.S. crude stocks rose by 3.3 million barrels for the week ended Oct. 15, according to market sources.
That was well above nine analysts’ forecasts for a rise of 1.9 million barrels in crude stocks, in a Reuters poll.
However, U.S. gasoline and distillate inventories, which include diesel, heating oil and jet fuel, fell much more than analysts had expected, pointing to strong demand.
Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is due later on Wednesday.
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