Reconstitute Federal Character Commission, Senate tells Buhari

SENATORS: Nigeria Senate plenary
Nigeria Senate plenary

The Senate has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to reconstitute the board of the Federal Character Commission (FCC).

This was sequel to a point of order raised by the minority leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, who noted that the FCC board has lapsed since 2018.

He said since 2018, the commission has been run by an acting chairman “who has now become a sole administrator.”

“No provisions of the Act or the Constitution stipulates the need For the office of a sole administrator or an Acting Chairman. The Federal Character Commission (FCC) has been a tool For unity, equitable Formula distribution and g00d governance of the Nation.

“Failure to reconstitute the commission amounts to a constitutional breach of the Act establishing the commission,” he said.

The Senate president, Ahmad Lawan, noted that the FCC is one of those national tools that work to ensure equity, unity, fairness and Justice in terms of employment distribution across all the 36 states and the FCT.

“It is very important we have the full complement of the Commission in place and I believe that with this resolution, it will expedite action to reconstitute the membership of the Commission,” he said.

The lawmakers thereafter, urged the president to “immediately constitute the Commission as not to do so amounts to a breach of the Act establishing the Federal Character Commission and the 1999 constitution (as amended).”

The call by the Senate is not first.

Abdullahi Shinkafi has been the Acting Chairman of the commission since 2018 and has operated overtime without members of the board.

This is against Section 2(1) of the Federal Character Act of 1995 which provides that members of the commission shall consist of a chairman who shall be the chief executive of the commission, a representative each of the states of the federation; and a representative of the FCT, Abuja.

Sale of job slots for N3 million

Mr Abaribe’s concerns follows the start of investigation into alleged job racketeering in the FCC with jobs reportedly being traded for as much as N3 million.

The chairman of its Committee on Federal Character Commission, Danjuma Laah, disclosed this to journalists on Monday.

He said the committee got reports from Nigerians alleging sale of jobs in the agency.

He said one of the witnesses claimed that “someone bought his job at N3 million from NPA”, adding that the “sellers are in Federal Character Commission.”

“It shocked me; it made my heart to bleed; and we are going to investigate this allegation. The committee has been investigating to unravel the culprits. Honestly the committee will leave no stone unturned in ensuring we get to the root of the matter,” get said.

“Dirty dealings in the commission have been on while many graduates have been roaming the streets with no jobs, while some persons are busy selling job slots to people.”

“Does it make sense? It is an embarrassment to the society and the (Muhammadu) Buhari government.”

The lawmaker said the president had restated at every given opportunity that he wanted every Nigerian to enjoy his administration.

“He wants to prove it by employing 100,000 of unemployed graduates, but some people are busy selling the job slots. If we confirm the allegations, we are not going to take it lying low,” the senator added.

While adding that some other agencies failed to honour the panel’s invitation, he threatened them with sanctions.

“Honestly I will seek the Senate President’s approval to ensure all those that failed to honour our invitation are taken to court,” he said.

He regretted that of the many ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) that had been summoned, only a few had turned up.

Those that failed to appear before the committee yesterday include Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria; National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC); Security and Exchange Commission (SEC); Federal College of Education, Zaria; and the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT), Zaria.The compliant ones included the National Eye Centre, Kaduna; Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT); and the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Zaria.

The representative of Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) was asked out of the venue.

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