Over 30 Nigerians who were issued letters of appointment in December 2019 by the immediate past DG, Engr. Mustpha Maihaja are yet to be called to resume 7 months after.
Investigations by our reporter revealed that all the appointees were subjected to the mandatory due processes related to recruitment exercises into the Nigerian Public Service including exams and interviews. Involved in the exercise were relevant bodies such as the Federal Character Commission and the Public Service Institute whose task was to ensure a seamless exercise and also the recruitment of qualified candidates to available positions spanning various levels and grades.
Surprisingly, since the successful candidates were issued letters of appointment duly signed by the former DG in December 2019, they are yet to resume for reasons unknown. Many amongst those who received the letter of appointment are said to have been duly documented by the Agency but are also yet to be called to work.
According to one of the appointees who spoke to our reporter under condition of anonymity, “I got my letter of appointment on the 24th of December last year and immediately resigned from my former place of work. I then proceeded to do my documentation within the given time frame. Since then I have been waiting to be called upon to resume work but till now, nothing of the sort has happened.
Yet another source from amongst those who received letters of appointment expressed extreme surprise and bitterness with the way and manner NEMA is handling the matter. “Since January I have been waiting to start work at NEMA. I and others were not only given letters of appointment but also a sort of temporary ID card stating categorically that we are bonafide staff of the Agency. To my greatest surprise, we have not been called to resume. We were practically forced to resign from our former jobs as a precondition for taking up these appointments and now, for close to 7 months, we have been stuck with no means of livelihood. My family and I have been going through hell. As the bread winner of the family, my situation has taken a drastic toll on my family not to talk of the embarrassment. I tell you, for whatever reason those people are treating us like this; they have proven themselves to be heartless and Godless. I don’t even live in Abuja and I am forced to borrow to travel down here every other week to find out what is happening. Each time I come, I hear a different story.
As at February, we were told that the management were trying to pick a date for our induction and training. Barely a fortnight after, the old DG, Dr. Maihaja was replaced then the song changed as we were advised to allow the new DG settle down and attend to our matter. We duly obeyed and yet till now, months after, nothing has happened. Our numerous visits to NEMA HQ have yielded no results whatsoever. Only recently, we were informed that the DG was working on our matter then just yesterday we were again informed that the matter has been taken to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and the Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk who now appears to be sitting on the matter thereby stalling our progress. Some of us went there and we met a brick wall. Between NEMA and the Ministry, there is something fishy going on. This is not at all normal and it is saddening to find that people can play politics with the lives of fellow human beings in the manner they are doing. It is simply unfair”!
According to another source who also pleaded anonymity, “I have been to NEMA more times than I can count regarding our matter. Nobody there seems to know what is going on and if at all they do, they are not willing to say anything. We were informed by an in-house source that there are some Directors in the Agency who have an axe to grind with the former DG. Their angst is that they were not carried along in the recruitment process and have therefore vowed that they would not support the exercise in any way since they were not given slots to field their own candidates.
The Agency Union is yet another problem as the Chairman has reportedly sworn that over his dead body would he allow the employment to stand. My question is; did Engr. Maihaja employ us for himself or for NEMA? We are dying slowly and there is no indication that they are serious about addressing this unfortunate development. Many of my colleagues are suffering just like me. Some have lost parents, spouses, fallen ill and have encountered various challenges that would otherwise have been easier on them had they already started work with pay! What kind of country is this my brother? If they have issues with Maihaja why must we suffer for it? How is it our fault”?
In a bid to better understand the situation CROSSFIRE dug deeper and discovered that approval for the exercise was given by the Agency’s Board which is headed by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo as far back as 2018. It was further revealed that as at the time the said approval was given right up to when the exercise took place, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development under whose supervision NEMA now falls was not yet created. Why the Ministry now seems to be the clog in the wheels of progress of these innocent Nigerians is beyond comprehension.
CROSSFIRE is presently making attempts to gain audience with relevant officers of the Agency with hopes that more light will be shed on the issue. For now, we join the appointees and well-meaning Nigerians in appealing to the DG NEMA, retired Air Vice Marshal Muhammadu Muhammed and the Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk to do the needful by calling on those involved to resume work without further delay. Recall that just a few months ago, the Federal Inland Revenue Service was faced with a similar scenario with scores of Nigerians who were given letters of employment by the immediate past Chairman of the organization, Babatunde Fowler remaining unemployed for over 6 months until the matter was brought to the court of public opinion and amicably resolved. We hope NEMA will take a leaf from this.
Those in authority must bear in mind that continuity in government business is key in the quest for unmitigated progress. Selfish interests must not be seen to supercede the overall interest of all Nigerians. Chief Executives of various MDAs and particularly those that man government business must be above board by refusing to allow petty sentiments adversely affect the running of our national affairs.