Replacement Employment As Disguised Fraud

Replacement Employment As Disguised Fraud
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It is very saddening to awake to the reality that the prescribed tradition of vacancy advertisement in the civil service which was prevalent in the 70s through the 90s, which goes along the grain of public service rule according to best international practices through which the most qualified of candidates based on merit are recruited may have taken leave of our clime as a clandestine system now popularly known as replacement employment has taken centre stage in all strata of the country’s civil service.

Job racketeering has become such a recurring decimal that the dangerous trend has accentuated into a near official policy of government. A plethora of cases indicate that virtually all ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs, and even the private sector are not mere accessories to the job-for-sale scam but are also direct perpetrators of this obnoxious policy whose victims are cumulatively swindled of billions of naira annually. Some MDAs even fix prices for each position and use employment agencies and cronies to search out applicants for payment.

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For some time now, the media space has been inundated with reports regarding this ugly trend, so much so that recently, there was a report that operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, recovered N1, 547,000,000 from over 600 persons arrested for embarking on illegal recruitment activities.

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This heinous act of replacement employment of teeming and desperate jobs seekers aside from being criminal on its own also comes at a huge financial cost to the individual who could cough up the amount of money charged for the vacancies within the civil service but which was not made public through the normal advertisement process.

We consider the resort by MDA’s to charge money for job recruitment exercise as illegal, because it has a budget approved for human resources, recruitment and induction training.

The practice of charging money from job applicants in the public sector has recently become a smooth scam for officials. Last year, in the recent past, a Para military service charged money to job applicants and eventually did not carry out the exercise. In 2009 and 2010, one state government was alleged to have defrauded over 10,000 applicants of millions of naira for jobs in the state public service; the jobs were neither offered nor the money refunded.

The Federal Character Commission stated some time ago that a job vacancy website opened by the Federal Ministry of Interior was aiding recruitment racketeering. Because of greed and lack of patriotism, many chief executives of MDAs are into clandestine recruitment exercises with their agents hiding under the cover of “job replacement” and the recruitment of casual and temporary workers.

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Recruiting agencies have opened offices to issue fake appointment letters. The law enforcement agencies should be called upon to fish out those behind this. Employment is a serious matter in this country, and if wrongly conducted, is a threat to national growth and unity because it would generate discontentment among various groups.

In 2020, the Senate raised the alarm over allegations of job racketeering in the Federal Character Commission with jobs reportedly being traded for as much as N3 million.

Chairman of its Committee on Federal Character Commission, Senator Danjuma Laah, who spoke after some agencies failed to honour the panel’s summons regarding the scrutiny of their nominal rolls in Abuja, confirmed that they got reports from Nigerians alleging sale of jobs in the agency. He said one of the accounts claimed that “someone bought his job at N3 million from NPA”, adding that the “sellers are in the Federal Character Commission”.

His words: “It shocked me; it made my heart bleed; and we are going to investigate this allegation. The committee has been investigating to unravel the culprits. “Honestly the committee will leave no stone unturned in ensuring we get to the root of the matter”. Laah noted that the “dirty dealings in the commission have been going on while many graduates have been roaming the streets with no jobs, while some persons are busy selling job slots to people”.

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AljazirahNigeria frowns at the fact that the prevalent nature of this criminal misconduct is traceable to the rising rate of impunity in the Nigerian public space. Once misconduct occurs and not punished, other people will follow because they know they can get away with it.

We also condemn the imposition of levy on unemployed graduates applying for jobs. Most of these applicants have been out of school without income for many years, or even decades. We, therefore, call for drastic measures including legislation to check this opportunistic method of fleecing desperate job hunters.

Aljazirahnews


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