A number of senators have been attending the various budget defence sessions of their committees in the past one week armed with the curriculum vitaes of their family members and constituents.
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that most of the legislators had been asking questions about the job opportunities in the various ministries, department and agencies, obviously to demand slots.
Officials of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Central Bank of Nigeria and other agencies are allegedly under the most pressure from the committees that have oversight powers over them for job slots.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, on Tuesday asked the management of the Public Complaints Commission to provide details of their personnel profile.
He said, “We need a detailed analysis of of your personnel cost. We need to know how many people are on level 18 and below. We also know how many of them are exiting. It is possible for some dead people to be claiming Nigerian money despite the agency being on IPPS (Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System) platform.
“We want Nigerian money to be paid to those who are working. Let us know the number of those that have resigned and their grade levels.
“As democratically elected representatives of the people, we have people who are looking for jobs. Let the money be paid to human beings not to ghost workers.”
The matter got to its peak when the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, led the agencies under his supervision to defend their 2020 budgets before the Senate Committee on Interior.
The panel showed great interest in the recruitment going on at the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and other paramilitary agencies under the ministry.
They even challenged the NSCDC to increase the number of new recruits from 5,000 to 10,000, promising to make provisions in the budget for 2020 to accommodate their salaries and allowances.
A member of the committee, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, said since the police were having a staffing shortage the NSCDC should recruit more people.
He said, “As politicians, when we visit our constituencies, our people will be chasing us around with the printout of their NSCDC online registration details. How many people are you going to recruit?
“The police have said they are recruiting 10, 000 (constables). The NSCDC, please recruit as many people as possible. It is very important. By doing so, you are going to help in policing the country. Secondly, it will also reduce unemployment.
“How much do we have in the SIP (social investment programme)? It is about N37bn. It goes nowhere. So, let us use indirect means to solve the problem which the SIP cannot solve.”
The same scenario played out at the budget defence session organised by the Senate Committee on States and Local Governments on Wednesday when a member told the officials of the Border Communities Development Agency to also avail the panel with details of their vacant positions.
Already, some members of the Federal Character Committee have vowed to probe the alleged sharing of some employment slots allegedly submitted by the FIRS to the Senate through the leadership.