Following the public outcry that greeted reports that it “secretly” recruited 909 staff between June 2014 and February 2015, in violation of due process and federal character, the Central Bank of Nigeria has denied any wrongdoing.
Two newspapers had this week published reports that the apex bank dubiously and secretly hired the aforementioned number of staff, prominent among them children and relatives of influential Nigerians including a nephew of President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s daughter.
The move suggests the apex bank used the secret appointments as a form of political patronage to some of these influential personalities.
But the acting Director, Corporate Communications of the CBN, Isaac Okoroafor, insisted that the bank did nothing illegal or wrong in hiring without advertising, saying the apex bank opted for a secret process of hiring new staff in the past two years because it was doing what he termed “targeted recruitment”.
Mr. Okorafor, told PREMIUM TIMES: “In the last two years, we have had cause to recruit specialists, and what the law says is that if we are going for that kind of recruitment we should apply for waiver, so that we can do targeted recruitment”.
He said the bank obtained waiver from the Federal Character Commission.
This position appears to be in tandem with the statement credited to the acting chairman of the FCC, Dr. Shettima Bukar Abba, who told Daily Trust, one of the newspapers that exposed the recruitment scandal that the commission is investigating the recent recruitments by the CBN.
“Since I came, they have not written anything to me, but I was made to clearly understand that they have some discussions, some approvals from the previous Chairman of the Commission.
“I have now asked them to let me see the nominal roll for the whole year and then those they intend to recruit and those that they have already recruited and the letter that gave them permission not to advertise”, Mr. Abba said.
On allegations that the recruitments were lopsided in favour of certain sections of the country, the CBN spokesperson said: “The other issue is that there are states that are not well represented (in the CBN), and in this case we focus on those states to recruit people of certain classes that we used to cover the shortfall in those states”.
Mr. Okoroafor, however, said he was not ready to confirm or deny the names on the list.
“Is there any qualified Nigerian who does not have the right to work in the CBN?” he asked.
Details of the recruitment carried out between June 2014 and February 2015 and obtained by Daily Trust showed that out of the 909 staff engaged, 213 of them are from the South-South region, the CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele’s geo-political zone.
Others are North Central, 178; South West, 176; South East, 158; North West, 104 and North East 80.
The five executive positions (Assistant Directors) come from Edo, Abia, Anambra, Oyo and Benue states.
About 411 others occupy senior positions from the rank of senior supervisors and principal managers.
A total of 491 staff were employed to fill junior positions over the period with the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) accounting for 11 slots.
State by state breakdown of the beneficiaries showed that Delta State had the highest number with 78, followed by Oyo, Imo and Edo States with 48, 42 and 41 respectively.