Reps Panel Queries JAMB Over Secret Recruitment

JAMB Registrar, Prof Oloyede

An ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives has queried the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) for recruiting about 300 staff without advertising the vacancies.

The committee is investigating ministries, departments, agencies (MDAs), parastatals, and tertiary institutions on personnel recruitment, employment racketeering, and the mismanagement of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information (IPPIS).

While appearing before the committee on Monday, the Registrar of JAMB, Ishaq Oloyede, told the panel that the board conducted the recruitment using a waiver granted to it by the government.

He explained that the board could not afford to go through the process of advertising the vacancies because of the exigencies of time.

“We used the waiver because we believe the exigency of the time and the nature of our work deserves it. If we were to advertise for the three hundred, we wouldn’t be able to meet up with what we needed them for.

“I believe very strongly that it was very, very necessary at that time that we recruited, and I assure you that we did not surcharge those who are qualified,” he said.

However, while responding to the presentation, the Chairman of the Committee, Yusuf Gagdi (APC, Plateau), rejected the explanation, noting that the process of recruitment adopted by JAMB would have denied several qualified people the opportunity of applying.

Mr Gagdi noted that by the documents available to the committee, JAMB had been recruiting without following the due process of advertisement, shortlisting and interview of job seekers.

“What makes you think advertising wouldn’t have been better? You have the capacity to screen the people that apply to get better hands to do those jobs. I’m asking this because we are most interested in correcting the fraud associated with waivers,” Mr Gagdi said.

Employment waivers

The federal government, in a circular with reference number: 58775/II/T/358, dated 11 July 2017, titled: “Streamlining procedures for recruitment into federal agencies”, made new guidelines for recruitment which permit the replacement of vacancies at the discretion of the MDA.

The circular stated that MDAs must obtain a waiver to recruit from the office of the Head of Service of the Federation.

“Adherence to manpower budget for proposed recruitment which must be approved by the supervising agency or ministry, obtaining of waiver to recruit from the office of the head of the service of the federation, and appropriate budgetary provisions to accommodate the proposed recruitment,” the circular states.

In 2021, the Federal Character Commission also issued a guideline to curb the abuse of the FG waivers by MDAs. In the guideline issued by FCC, newspaper advertisement of job vacancies was made mandatory.

“The MDA shall ensure and provide comprehensive job description (academic qualifications and cognate experience) required for each vacant position; all vacancies shall be advertised in at least two newspapers circulating nationally, giving prospective candidates a minimum of six weeks within which to apply,” the guidelines read in part.

In addition, the FCC provides that “The spread of all vacancies to be filled shall be predetermined in relation to current levels of (federal character) representation, by states or geo-political zones, at a joint meeting of recruiting MDA and the FCC.”

However, the FCC has ironically been in the middle of a job racketeering scandal and is a major subject of the ongoing probe.

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