Youths protest over NITDA revoked appointments

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Minister of Communication Adebayo Shittu
Minister of Communication Technology Adebayo Shittu, faults the NITDA recruitment process

Some youths on Tuesday in Abuja protested over the termination of their appointments by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

The youths, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) through their spokesperson, Mr Mkpabo Daniel said that they were protesting against the injustice meted out to them by NITDA.

Daniel said that in November, 2015 they were lawfully employed by the agency, but in the process the then director-general was relieved of his duty.

He, however, said that in January, the Acting Director-General of NITDA, Dr Vincent Olatunji told the new staff members to go home for two weeks pending when the issue of their employment would be resolved.

According to him, the process is faulty.

“After two weeks, we went back to him, he said we should keep waiting and we have been waiting for the past 10 months and nothing has been done.

“Subsequently on March 3, the Minister of Communication, Mr Adebayo Shittu came on air and said that our recruitments have been revoked because his own state was only given one slot.

“We were gainfully employed, we received our acceptance letters, did all the necessary documentation, we have our file numbers. We have our posting and every necessary procedure have been done,’’ he said.

He said that it was the Federal Character Commission that carried out the recruitment.

“We have written on our banner that injustice is being done to 245 Nigerians in NITDA and that is enough corruption.

“On our first protest, we went to the ministry and the Permanent Secretary told us to hold on for the budget to be released and we waited for the budget to be out.

“And even when it came out, we did not hear anything from them.

“It will interest you to know that among the 245 of us that were recruited; those that are related to them in one way or the other have been posted to various departments in the agency.

“They went and created a department separately in Maitama, thinking we will not know but it got to our ears.’’

NAN also reports that on Aug 3, the minister had in a statement through his Special Assistant on Media, Mr Victor Oluwadamilare said that the recruitment lacked merit and due process.

The statement quoted Shittu as saying “contrary to insinuations in some circles, he did not cancel the exercise because only one candidate from Oyo State was offered employment.’’

He said that the recruitment was cancelled because the conduct was in conflict with due process.

“The former Director-General of NITDA, Mr Peter Jack, neglected due process in conducting the exercise,’’ he said.

The minister said that the recruitment process was stopped after it was realised that it did not follow laid down procedures, adding that approvals were not obtained.

“While most of those employed don’t have the requisite skills to adequately bridge the manpower gap in the agency, the employment process did not follow due process.

“Employment letters were issued to the applicants even before the interview,’’ he said.

Shittu said that he could not be held liable for the non-absorption of the 368 candidates issued with letters of appointment from the inconclusive recruitment.

Mrs Hadiza Umar, the Head of Corporate Affairs, NITDA said that in October, 2015, the former  D-G had written to the Ministry seeking approval to employ people into the Office of National Content(ONC) and the office of Innovation Enterprise(OIE).

Umar said that he got approval from the permanent secretary that the employment should be made, and due process must be followed.

She said that due process was not followed.

“The aggrieved protesters are not legally employed by the last director-general and they were not captured in the proper employment of the agency.

“They were employed without adequate consideration of skills gap. About 245 senior members of staff were illegally employed for an agency that has less than 200 staff.

“Every Nigerian has the right to work in NITDA but they should follow due process.

“Their employment was part of the reasons that got the former D-G sacked.


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