Concerned stakeholders in the Nigerian maritime sector, including some workers of the Nigerian ports Authority (NPA), have called on the National Assembly to launch a probe into allegations of secret recruitment by the authority.
The stakeholders who condemned the act of secretly employing workers without due process, said the move would jeopardise the chances of getting young, vibrant and qualified Nigerians to secure employment within the NPA.
It would be recalled that the NPA had issued a statement, claiming the process commenced since 2016 and therefore was not against the Presidential directive.
A public affairs analyst and developmental economist, Dr Austin Nweze, expressed his dissatisfaction over the process, saying the process of recruitment in NPA had always been flawed with irregularities from inception.
He however called for the National Assembly to probe the process which he alleged wasn’t transparent and led to open protest by aggrieved youths in Kano.
According to Nweze, “Recruitment in NPA right from time has been shrouded in secrecy and only meant for the children of the rich, and I keep asking whether we can build a nation with this type of situation.
“It is not good for the country. It is a whirlwind that won’t blow anyone any good and I don’t think we are building a nation with this,” he said.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Integrated Logistics clearing agency, Olayiwola Arogundade called for immediate probe of the recruitment process in other to know if the process is transparent.
In his words, “NPA is a Federal Government agency that belong to everyone and not a select few privileged individuals.
“The National Assembly should come to the rescue of less privileged Nigerians. Even if the positions are advertised, we all know that employment into NPA is for a privileged few.”
Meanwhile, some of the NPA workers in a separate interview challenged the management to make the recruitment process open and give opportunities to ordinary Nigerians who are qualified for the job.
A senior officer at the ICT department confirmed that the recruitment as usual was irregular and fraught with anomalies.
“What they are doing is secret recruitment. We are not aware of any employment opportunity. We were not told. it was not announced to the staff.
Somebody like me has a candidate, but I had no opportunity to recommend him. What we only saw is that interviews for their selected candidates have already been done and sealed,” the aggrieved ICT staff who declined not to have his name in print lamented.
Another aggrieved worker and a one time Executive of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), NPA branch confirmed that the labour union have always been sidelined during employment exercise.
“Employment into NPA in recent times have always been on the basis of man-know-man and we thought it will stop during the time Hadiza Bala Usman became Managing Director because of her anti- corruption stance, but it has remained as bad as it used to be in the past.
“If they tell you they followed due process, I am challenging the Managing Director that she should come out with the criteria that was used to select those that were interviewed, then you will see that most of them are related to top people in a section of the country or recommended by one top government functionaries or the other,” the one time MWUN executives said.
Report of secret recruitment into the NPA, which was against the directive of President Muhamadu Buhari on public recruitment, became public knowledge last week.
The series of NPA secret recruitment exercise was done on November 10 and held at the Tahir Guest Palace, Kano state by the Human Resource Manager, Bukar Yahaya, for selected applicants.
It was further gathered that the Kano recruitment was sequel to similar one that was done in the North-Eastern part of the country. Those invited converged at AbdulAzeez Yari Conference hall of Tahir Guest Palace.
Scores of other applicants who were not favoured had trooped into the interview venue in Kano to protest the secrete recruitment process