Niger Delta Non Violence Agitators Forum, NDNAF, has protested alleged marginalization and alienation of Niger Delta by the Petroleum Equalization Fund (Management), PEF (M) – Board, Abuja, in its last recruitment exercise, where out of 200 persons offered employment on July 13 and 14, last year, only 17 persons were hired from certain oil producing states, while 173 persons came from non-oil producing states.
The recruitment exercise in which PEF (M) Board penned the Federal Character Commission, FCC, Abuja, for waiver not to advertise the existing vacancies in March 19, 2020, is generating dust, following strong complaint to the National Security Adviser, NSA, Major General Babagana Mungono (retd), FCC and others by NDNAF.
Meanwhile, Spokesman of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund, Mr Gody Nnaji, when contacted said he was at a meeting and would comment on the allegation. However, he did not get back to this reporter at press time.
Chairman, NDNAF, Abuja chapter, Jonathan Embale, in a February 3, 2021, petition to the NSA and others, said: “Only 17 persons which represent 8.5 per cent of the total 200 persons recruited into the PEF (M) Board are from the oil and gas producing states of the region.”
Despite the uproar, Vanguard sited a letter dated October 15, 2020, by the Executive Secretary, PEF (M) Board, Ahmed Bobbai, to the Executive Chairman, FCC, Dr Muheeba Dankaka, entitled “Request for Issuance of Certificate of Compliance” seeking validation for the recruitment.
Bobbai wrote: “The Executive Chairman may wish to recall that the interview exercise was successfully conducted on July 13 and 14, 2020, with the representative of the commission in attendance. Consequent upon successful completion of the exercise, the Board has selected a total number of 200 successful candidates across the federation.
“Please find enclosed the following lists to enable the commission issue a Certificate of Compliance to PEF (M) -B in line with the guidelines for recruitment,” he added.
The lists include 184 successful candidates recommended for graduate recruitment and 16 successful candidates for employment into PEF (M) Board.
However, NDNAF gave the statistics of the controversial recruitment exercise as follows: Abia- 1, Akwa Ibom- 2, Bayelsa- 4, Cross-River-2, Dela- 3, Edo- 0, Imo- 3, Ondo-0 and Rivers- 2, adding: “Non-oil producing states such as Adamawa got 16 (8 per cent), Bauchi 9 (4.5per cent), Borno 13 (6.5per cent) Kano 19 (9.5per cent) and Katsina 14 (7per cent) respectively and amongst other non-oil producing states that got varying candidates ranging from six persons from those states in the recruitment exercise.”
The petition to NSA read in part: “We, NDNAF, write in reference to a letter with ref. NDNAF/ABJ/LOP/1/P.2, dated January 25, 2021, addressed to the management of Petroleum Equalization Fund (Management) Board PEF (M) – B) and copied the office of NSA on the above subject wherein the group expressed its disappointment at the anti-Niger Delta recruitment exercise the board conducted.
“In the letter, the group raised salient and very sensitive issues about the recruitment that bordered on marginalization; exclusion, deprivation and deliberate alienation of the people of the Niger Delta region from the obnoxious recruitment exercise. Sadly, the group was ignored and disappointed by the refusal and snobbish behavior of PEF (M) Board to respond to our letter on the subject till date.
“The letter presented facts available to the group from a memo with ref. no: PEF/C/102/S.5/11/336 dated October 15, 2020, which contains the recruitment of 200 conducted for graduate level entry and junior cadre into the PEF(M) Board were recommended for certificate of compliance by the Federal Character Commission.
“The memo further indicates that out of 200 staff recruited, 184 candidates were successfully shortlisted for graduate level entry into the PEF (M) Board, and 16 candidates for the junior cadre were also successfully shortlisted for employment into the PEF (M) Board.
“Furthermore, facts before the group also indicate how the allocation of slots was made according to states, the table points out that only 17 persons which represent 8.5 per cent of the total 200 persons recruited into the PEF (M) Board are from the oil and gas producing states of the region. While non-oil producing states such as Adamawa got 16 (8per cent), Bauchi, nine (4.5per cent), Borno, 13 (6.5per cent) Kano 19 (9.5per cent), Katsina, 14 (7per cent), respectively and amongst other non-oil producing states that got varying candidates ranging from 6 persons from those states in the recruitment exercise.
“From the foregoing, the people of the region receive the actions of PEF (M) Board on the purported recruitment exercise as an aberration and a direct affront on the people of the Niger Delta region, and as such, it is an invitation to violence in the region. Therefore, the people of the region sought for explanations in the following pertinent questions:
“The recruitment exercise negates and in gross violation of the spirit and letter of the Federal Character Principles.
“What is the formula adopted by the board to arrive at those ridiculous figures for oil producing states of the region and in some, zero candidates, while allocating unjustifiable numbers to Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Kano, Katsina and the rest of them?
“Why were the people of the Niger Delta region deliberately alienated and marginalized from the recruitment process?
“Why were some states that have no drop of oil given priorities and deserved to be treated special above the people who suffer environmental degradation, pollution and who have lost their sources of livelihood to oil exploratory activities in the region?
“Why were the people of the region denied their rights of employment to work in PEF (M) Board after losing their means of stay to oil exploration activities in the region?
“This is a calculated policy direction carried out by the PEF (M) Board that is in gross violation of the norms, spirit and letter of the Federal Character principles which guarantee equity, fairness and justice in the recruitment/appointments of citizens into the federal civil and public services.
“It is an action that has the potential to ignite violence and which has been the root causes of restiveness and militancy in the region. It is so painful and our hearts boil in righteous anger. In addition, we are equally seeking to know why the heart of the management of PEF (M) Board is so hard against the people of the region and why they are pushing the people of the region into violence.
“It is unclear why organisations like PEF(M)Board and its management either by omission or commission carry out unjust actions just to reinforce the stereotype ‘militants,’ ‘violent people’ and ‘restiveness’ against the people and the region in order to perpetuate the militarization of the Niger Delta.
“The resolution of this matter is expedient and we await an expedited response for justice, fairness and equity to be served in the discriminatory recruitment exercise of July 13 and 14, July, 2020 by PEF (M) Board for peace to reign,” the group added. (Vanguard)