Professor AbdulRaheem Oba
FCC boss fails to substantiate allegation
The Chairman of Federal Character Commission (FCC), Professor AbdulRaheem Oba, made a volte face on his previous allegation against the Ministry of Interior yesterday as the public hearing on the bribe-for-job scam entered the second day.
Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, while appearing at the public hearing organised by the Senator Awaisu Kuta-led joint committees on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs and Employment, Labour and Productivity, described as a tissue of lies, allegations by Oba on Monday that his ministry was aiding employment scams by opening a website for employment.
But the Interior Minister distanced the ministry from the alleged website fraud as claimed by FCC Chairman, and accused Oba of rather propagating falsehood against his ministry.
But to the surprise of the gathering, Oba kept mum when he was expected to defend his allegation.
Instead, he evaded the issue and proceeded to answer questions on other issues.
Moro had said: “That is certainly not true...we don’t have online recruitment arrangement in place in the ministry. We have never, officially, to the best of my knowledge, asked anybody to place applications online.”
Obviously referring to Oba, Moro added: “Certain persons went to press because of the sensitivity of recruitments; certain people went to town that the ministry was engaged in unwholesome activities; it’s not true.”
Explaining further, he said: “Let me say therefore, that in the course of our recruitment, replacement exercises, we have had recurring decimal or incidents of complaints and allegations of some levels of scam in the exercise and I want to say here that this is as a result of the situation in which we found ourselves in this country; the number of persons that are unemployed and the number of persons itching for recruitment.
“In the process, it was brought to our notice that certain persons engaged in unwholesome practices of defrauding members of the public of funds, payments for jobs and the rest of that. To the best of our knowledge and ability, we have not been able to establish very specific cases against individuals within the ministry. I want to say that in recognition of those allegations, the ministry has taken several steps to make sure that undiscerning members of the public are not unnecessarily defrauded.
“This certainly is not true. We have made strenuous efforts to make sure that we do not shortchange Nigerians. I have said time without numbers that it is criminal for anybody to take money from unemployed youths to get them employed. “And so, as I stand before you to present these documents to you, on my honour, it is not an official policy of the Ministry of Interior to ask for money for employment.
“We have never engaged in it and we have asked anybody who has knowledge of anybody who asked for money for employment to report such people. I equally want to say that even on a particular case where we had reasons to intervene that certain members were defrauding the public, I directed the Intelligence Unit of the Nigeria Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), intimating them with the activities of one particular person, that he be arrested and possibly prosecuted.
“I also have on record here that the NSCDC has made several arrests and it is documented. The NSCDC, when we got to know, arrested certain persons, with some of them taken to court, arraigned and imprisoned. The records are there before you.”
However, there was mild drama when the FCC boss was asked to respond to the allegation as he pretended not to have heard Moro’s submissions.
Oba had at the opening of the hearing on Monday claimed that “the Ministry of Interior opened a website and directed people to deposit CV’s there without indicating what position they are applying for. That kind of action drives these young men and women into the hands of fraudsters.”
The public hearing ends today.