The Senate on Wednesday passed for second reading a Bill for law to prohibit unadvertised employment in Federal Public Service.
This came after a debate on the general principles of the Bill presented by Deputy Minority Whip, Sen. Biodun Olujimi, on Tuesday.
Leading the debate, Olujimi said that the Bill was for an Act requiring regular publication of vacancies in Federal Government offices to ensure transparency and equal opportunities in the recruitment of new personnel.
She said that the Bill, which was read first on June 16, 2016, sought to make provisions for Federal Government to promote efficiency in the allocation of personnel in the Federal Civil Service.
The lawmaker said that the Bill was to ensure transparency in recruitment of personnel by making it mandatory for the Federal Civil Service Commission to publish all vacancies in the federal public service quarterly.
“The Bill seeks to achieve the foregoing objectives by making it an offence to fill any vacant position in any ministry, parastatals, corporation and department unless it is in accordance with the provisions of the Act.”
Olujimi noted that it was common knowledge that employment in government parastatals in most cases was not based on merit as “god-fatherism’’, favouritism, nepotism and ethnicity had taken the front burner.
“Millions of Nigerian men and women are denied equal opportunities in recruitments today as most vacancies are not advertised publicly.
“This has given rise to corruption and fallen standards of education, due largely to the fact that educational qualifications are no longer criteria for employment,” she said.
The lawmaker further said the unemployed sought short cuts to gain employment because of the lack of trust in the system.
“Nigerians engage in all sorts of vices to get their relatives, friends and loved ones into vacant positions and this has been accepted as the general norm.
“This is unacceptable and should not be allowed to continue,” she said.
She insisted that there was serious and urgent need for transparency in all aspects of governance.
Olujimi added that making the publication of existing vacancies in the civil service mandatory would enhance efficiency as those who are most qualified would get employed into the service.
Supporting the Bill, Sen. Adamu Aliero (APC-Kebbi) said advertising vacancies in national dailies would make people aware that vacancies existed and the best qualified would take up any available job.
He raised concerns that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) sidelined procedures and recruited people without following due process.
Aliero added that the Bill, when passed, would eliminate nepotism and corruption.
Similarly, Sen. James Manager (PDP-Delta) described the Bill as simple and very important.
“We are all aware of what is happening when it comes to placement for jobs in the country. We cannot allow this to continue,” he said.
Manager, who lamented that the downtrodden but qualified candidates were not employed, insisted federal character principle must be applied in employment for advertised positions.
“There must be a law to check this. This Bill is meant for the people who are qualified and as such, they must be given priority.”
He said that the Bill, when passed, would result to a civil service that was vibrant and would move Nigeria forward.
“A political figure cannot move forward without a vibrant civil service,” Manager said.
On his part, Sen. Suleiman Adokwe (PDP-Nasarawa) said that when it concerned recruitment, lawmakers “are blackmailed into looking for jobs for their constituents’’, even when the jobs were not available.
While noting that the government was not engaging “the best of brains”, Adokwe said every Nigerian youth should be given a chance for employment.
He said that the Bill would guard against nepotism and urged the Executive to assent to it when passed.
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, said that the Bill would help Nigerians to have “a sense that they can apply and have a fighting chance for available jobs”.
He said the senate would ensure that the passage of the Bill was fast-tracked as it would help in fostering unity in the country.
The senate president thereafter mandated the Committee on Establishment and Public Service to carry out further legislative actions on the Bill and report back in four weeks.”