Protesters wednesday stormed the headquarters of the National Pension Commission (PenCom) in Abuja protesting against the commission’s failure to allow workers recruited by the agency to resume work.
The protesters, under the aegis of the Nigerian Youth for Change, alleged that the botched recruitment exercise resulted in the death of one of the new recruits, late Mustapha Ajiya.
Azubike Okafor, who provided the background to the development, said Mustapha was lawfully employed by PenCom based on the approval of the last Executive Management Committee of the agency.
Okafor explained that Mustapha successfully completed the aptitude test, passed the various interviews and was offered employment via a letter dated March 2017 and was directed to resume on May 2, 2017.
“Mustapha accepted the offer and resigned his previous employment.
However, the Executive Management Committee of PenCom was removed in April 2017 and Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, after receiving the handover note as the most senior staff, indefinitely suspended their already legally concluded employments.”
The protesters expressed pessimism that if nothing was done to lift the suspension, the other 41 recruits still waiting for PenCom to allow them resume, may face the same fate as Mustapha.
Reacting to the development, the acting Director-General of PenCom, Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, said that the suspension of the recruitment was not a unilateral decision of PenCom as she met a letter upon resumption of office directing her to suspend it due to irregularities.
Dahir-Umar said the recruitment did not follow strictly the conditions spelt out by the Federal Character Commission (FCC) and this might have informed the decision of the commission to initiate the suspension of the recruitment.
The acting PenCom boss said the FCC gave the former management the approval to recruit 16 new workers but the commission eventually employed 42 persons also failed to obtain the final compliance certificate before issuing employment letters to the new recruits.
“By the time I resumed office, there was already a letter to say they should not be allowed to resume. That is the problem. It is not PenCom that stopped their resumption,” she said.