By Emmanuel Aziken
The Nigerian Youth for Change, has faulted the claims of the acting director-general of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM), Mrs. Aisha Dahiru-Umar that 43 persons employed by the previous management of the commission were turned back from their employment upon the directive of the House of Representatives on alleged non compliance with federal character principles.
The group, which last week organized a protest at the commission’s headquarters to protest the death of Mallam Mustapha Ajiya, one of the affected 43 new recruits, in a statement accused the PENCOM DG of not saying the truth on the matter.
In a statement on Wednesday, the group’s spokesperson, Comrade Azubike Okafor, said: “First, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar claimed that the suspension was because the Commission, under the previous Executive Management Committee, employed 43 persons, whereas the Federal Character Commission (FCC) gave approval for 16 only. But we made it clear to the public that FCC approved 43 and challenged her to publish the letter where only 16 was approved, which she has not done.
“Now, she claims there was no Certificate of Compliance before the employment letters were issued. But we are aware that the said final approval was received by Hadiza Oninyangi as acting Head of Human Resources of PENCOM in March after which she signed the employment letters. And if she issued the letters without such approval, why has she not been investigated by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission and sacked?
“We have been vindicated, as the spokesperson of the FCC, Abdullahi Idris, has come out to state clearly, in the said reports that ‘the FCC had no reason to order the cancellation of a legitimate recruitment process; FCC frowns at organisations , who after being duly issued with Certificate of Compliance will turn around to cancel same without genuine reason’.
“It is also clear from the reports and memos cited therein that Aisha had indeed tried unsuccessfully to jettison the already concluded recruitment to enable her recruit fresh persons in lieu of those already employed based on the approvals of the FCC and the erstwhile Executive Management Committee (Exco).
The group further stated that it was wrong and illegal to suspend the already concluded employment by a mere letter from the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Federal Character, Hon. Ahmed Idris.
“The alleged letter was dated 19th April 2017, but the recruitment was already concluded and appointment letters issued to successful candidates by March 2017. So, any retroactive suspension is illegal, especially when the Commission and the newly employed had entered into a legally-binding contract, with many of them resigning their previous employments to take up the PENCOM job?
“Besides, if the House of Representatives had found an infraction warranting suspending the resumption of those already employed, it could have passed a resolution, which is usually advisory, not an order, that would have been conveyed to PENCOM by the Clerk of the House, not the Committee Chairman.
“Aisha’s claim of federal character balancing does not hold water as you can only give employment to those who applied and passed the interviews. Federal character balancing is a continuous process addressed over time with subsequent employments.
“Therefore, the Acting DG PENCOM is obviously holding on to straws to justify her unjustifiable sitting on the employment of young Nigerians for more than one year due to her own vested interests”.
The group also wondered why Mrs. Dahir-Umar has not addressed the issue of her alleged illegal 300 per cent increase of her exit allowance as well as the raise in the number of General Managers from 10 to 17 in the absence of Exco and board contrary to Sections 24 and 25 of the Pension Reform Act 2014.