I write to bring to the notice of the federal government, the Senate Committee Chairman on Procurement, House of Representatives Chairman on Procurement, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Head of service and Secretary of the Government of Nigeria, a disturbing trend currently happening at the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

As we are all aware, the BPP Act 2007 has put Nigeria in the League of countries with legislation on how public funds should be expended along with the establishment of the BPP as the regulatory authority responsible for monitoring and oversight of public procurement and practices by regulating, setting standards and deploying the legal framework and professional capacity for procurement in Nigeria and for other related matters.

Based on the above, it is clear that the BPP is an arm of government established and administered under strict professional, ethical and legal standards for capacity building and operators of procurement professionals in Nigeria.

Unfortunately, all these are about to be rubbished by some wicked and unethical forces at the corridor of powers at the BPP. As I write, caution is being thrown to the wind, professional stands discarded and set standards by the BPP thrown to the dust bin with the release of the shortlisted candidates for batch two of the 2021 Conversion/induction (Foundation) Training Course into the Procurement Cadre in parastatals, institutions, commissions and agencies of the federal government.

In the set rules, standards and regulations set for candidates by the BPP, it is stated clearly among other criteria that “Nominees must have attended at least one course in any of the Public Procurement Research Centres (PPRCS) at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), or Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO); and nominees who have less than five years left in service from the date of the advertisement or more than 50 years of age need not apply.

But my checks reveal that these three very important criteria were not adhered to even when it was clearly stated in Section 23 of the piece of legislation setting up the BPP, that a standard set cannot be subject to change.

Furthermore, from those fraudulently picked and undergoing training in Lagos, some did not attend either ABU or FUTO as clearly stated as one of the cardinal requirements. Also, nominees that are above 50 years and full- fledged directors were picked against the set rules and regulations set by BPP for nominees that those above GL 15 or its equivalent need not apply. In fact, deputy directors and directors were all shortlisted – a clear case of abuse of the criteria set by the same BPP.

The question is, are full- fledged directors on GL 15?

No doubt, this flagrant disregard to laid down rules and standards is akin to corruption which the present administration has zero tolerance for. It is clear that those who ought to apply have been disenfranchised and cut off from the process.

If BPP that is saddled with regulating procurement process is cutting corners and circumventing the rules, what becomes of procurement practice in Nigeria’s government architecture?

This explains why procurement process is suffering in Nigeria.

I call for urgent review and re – screening of the current list by the relevant authorities with those found wanting in abusing their offices and the process brought to book and made to face the full wrath of the law. This is very important in order to sanitise the system and restore confidence in procurement practice in Nigeria and serve as deterrent to would – be offenders. Otherwise this fraudulent list will pass and those who do not qualify to be certified issued with certificate of conversion to practice as procurement officers in government ministries and agencies.

Yisau Alabi,

Ikeja – Lagos State