Scandal Unearthed: Corruption and Job Racketeering Rock Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.
In a shocking revelation, the House of Representatives has embarked on a probing journey into the abyss of job racketeering within various ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) of the Nigerian government. This investigation has brought to light a web of corruption that implicates high-ranking officials and challenges the integrity of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information Service (IPPIS).
Under the leadership of lawmaker Yusuf Gagdi, who represents the APC in Plateau, the investigative committee has, over the past month, uncovered a disturbing level of corruption among government officials. Many of these officials have reportedly confessed to receiving illicit payments from desperate job seekers in exchange for coveted positions within the government.
The Federal Character Commission (FCC), an agency tasked with ensuring fairness, equity, transparency, and accountability in the distribution of federal job vacancies, has become a focal point in this alleged racketeering. The investigation, still ongoing, has unveiled multiple violations of the FCC Act by top management personnel within the agency.
Some of the shocking revelations include the indiscriminate issuance of employment waivers to MDAs, biased employment practices in various agencies, and the purported sale of job vacancies to individuals in desperate need of employment.
The heart of this scandal lies in the confession of a former IPPIS desk officer at the FCC, Mr. Haruna Kolo. Kolo stands accused of collecting vast sums of money from job applicants in return for promised employment. He confessed to amassing over N75 million from these applicants, all under the instructions of the FCC chairman, Dr. Farida Dankaka.
According to Kolo’s testimony, Chairman Dankaka directed him to receive these funds in his personal account and deliver them in cash, often during meetings held at her residence. These allegations have cast a shadow of doubt over the integrity of the FCC, an organization entrusted with upholding the principles of fairness and equity.
Kolo, who left his position at the FCC to work at the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in November 2022, shockingly continued to receive salaries from the FCC on two separate occasions. Despite reporting this discrepancy to the FCC Human Resource Officer, it remained unresolved.
Kolo’s account of his time at the FCC further reveals the extent of corruption. He described how he was instructed by Chairman Dankaka to liaise with a certain Mr. Shehu, a personal driver and PA to the Taraba State commissioner. Kolo’s role as a desk officer involved taking those approved for employment to the IPPIS for data capture. He asserted that no one could undergo this process without a letter signed by the FCC Chairman or Human Resource Officer.
Intriguingly, Chairman Dankaka’s involvement seemed to extend beyond employment procedures. She reportedly wrote to the Accountant General, mandating that no FCC letters be honored unless personally signed by her. This level of control over employment processes raised eyebrows and fueled suspicions.
Mr. Kolo admitted that money was funneled into his personal bank account by individuals seeking employment, with some paying up to N1.5 million. These payments, totaling millions, were subsequently handed over to Chairman Dankaka in cash via point-of-sale (POS) transactions, leaving no paper trail.
Furthermore, Kolo’s personal life became a subject of inquiry, as allegations emerged that he had worked at multiple places simultaneously. He vehemently denied these claims, asserting that the accusations were unfounded assumptions.
Despite these startling revelations, the chairman of the ad-hoc Committee, Yusuf Gagdi, announced that Mr. Kolo’s bank statements had been acquired. Names of individuals involved in suspicious transactions have been flagged, and they have been summoned to appear before the investigative hearing.
Among the key figures implicated is Gbadamosi Jalo, who made several transfers to Mr. Kolo’s account. Ishau Gambo, a driver associated with the Taraba Commissioner, was also identified in these transactions. This web of payments and recruitment through nefarious means continued to unravel during the hearing.
Mr. Jalo, testifying under oath, disclosed that he paid N1.2 million into Mr. Kolo’s account and subsequently secured employment within the FCC. His enrollment in the IPPIS allowed him to receive a regular salary. Encouraged by his own success, he was persuaded by Kolo to bring in more job seekers willing to pay for employment opportunities. Jalo’s recruits mainly found placements at the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR).
Similarly, Musa Ibrahim confessed to facilitating payments to the account of Abdulahi Ibrahim, purportedly an aide to the FCC Commissioner from Nasarawa State. Evidence of payments and alleged involvement of Mr. Ibrahim in fraudulent activities came to light during the hearing.
Two victims of job racketeering at the FCC, Abdulmalik Ahmed and Ali Yaro, recounted their experiences. They revealed that they had paid N1 million and N2 million, respectively, to secure employment within the commission. Despite receiving appointment letters, they were never assigned to designated MDAs.
Ahmed’s testimony exposed a lack of transparency within the FCC, as he claimed that the Head of Human Resources at the agency had initially confirmed the genuineness of their appointments. However, their employment was mysteriously revoked.
Furthermore, despite the FCC’s claims of no recruitment since 2017, it was revealed that recruitment had indeed taken place in 2021, with commissioners allegedly involved in the process. Kolo allegedly encouraged job seekers to pay for employment opportunities, promising that their positions would follow those of directors and commissioners.
The gravity of these allegations has prompted a robust denial from FCC Chairman Dr. Farida Dankaka. She swore on the Holy Qu’ran that she never collected money from Kolo or instructed him to do so. She vehemently denied any involvement in the illicit activities described during the investigation. She stressed that she had not seen Kolo since December and expressed her lack of familiarity with the driver mentioned in the proceedings.
Mamman Alakai, the commissioner representing Nasarawa state in the FCC, also disavowed any participation in collecting money for job offers. He claimed that he had never received money from anyone in exchange for employment opportunities. Alakai recounted a situation where a traditional ruler from Nasarawa informed him that one of his aides had taken money for job slots. In response, Alakai reported the matter to the police and identified the aide in question as Abdullahi Ibrahim.
According to Alakai, when the police visited Ibrahim’s residence, they discovered a uniform from the Nigerian Correctional Service. He emphasized that those who were allegedly defrauded by Ibrahim had taken legal action against him.
Alakai, displaying transparency, invited the committee to scrutinize his bank account to investigate any alleged money transfers related to job slots.
This ongoing investigation has sent shockwaves through various government agencies and the public at large. With the committee’s determination to uncover all aspects of corruption and irregularities related to employment in the nation’s agencies, more revelations are expected in the coming days.
Chairman Yusuf Gagdi, determined to expose the depths of corruption, has even voiced his intention to recommend the abolition of employment waivers within federal agencies. He contends that the current provisions are susceptible to abuse and mismanagement by those in positions of authority.
As the investigation unfolds, it raises fundamental questions about the integrity of government employment processes and the extent to which corruption has infiltrated vital institutions. The findings of this probe will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications and could potentially lead to significant reforms in the way government jobs are allocated and managed in Nigeria.