The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has secretly employed 20 members of staff, most of them from Kano State and a few states in the North.
The interview of the candidates, which some top officials of the agency condemned, was carried out on December 23, 2016 while the affected workers were hurriedly asked to report for work on Wednesday, December 27.
Critics of the exercise said that the workers were engaged when activities in SEC were almost shut down for the year and they were asked to report for work after the Christmas holidays without any induction or training.
The critics also alleged that the vacancies were not advertised while the management favoured candidates from northern states, especially Kano State, the home-state of SEC’s Director-General, Mounir Gwarzo.
Although SEC told The AUTHORITY that the positions were not advertised because they were for junior officers, it was learnt that the candidates ought to come from the catchment states of Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) but the agency gave preferential treatment to Kano.
While SEC said it obtained a waiver from the Federal Character Commission for the recruitment of 20 junior staff, a source at the commission told The AUTHORITY that some senior workers were also employed.
SEC, which has been in a running battle with the House of Representatives Committee on Federal Character over a similar employment last year, is said to have frozen all training allowances in the New Year for lack of funds.
A source in SEC affirmed that no fewer than 20 people were employed after an interview on Friday, December 23 into the junior and senior staff cadres of the commission.
The source, who did not wish to be named for fear of victimisation, said it was unusual for SEC to interview people on Friday and letters of appointment issued immediately and the employees resuming work within a week.
He said: “No training or induction was conducted. The whole thing was shrouded in secrecy and most members of staff in the commission were not even aware of what was going on.”
When contacted on the issue, SEC’s Head of Corporate Communications, Naif Abdulssalam, said that there was nothing unusual in the recruitment process as the commission sought and obtained a waiver from the Federal Character Commission not to advertise the positions.
He denied that any interview took place on December 23, 2016, claiming that the process was ongoing.
Abdulssalam, who showed a copy of the waiver from the Federal Character Commission which was dated December 20 to The AUTHORITY, noted that the practice was common when institutions are seeking targeted employment.
Also speaking to The AUTHORITY on the issue, the Public Relations Officer of the Federal Character Commission, Abdullahi Idris, confirmed that a waiver was granted to SEC on advertisement to recruit junior employees.
He explained that waivers are granted on such cases when the number of those to be recruited is minimal and for the exigency of time.
Idris stated that to avoid “a mountain of applications for a few positions, the commission grants waivers to agencies, especially when the cost of such process is considered.”
Idris said although he had not seen the file on the SEC’s application for a waiver, he was sure the commission had a good reason for granting the waiver.
He further explained that for junior cadre, the strict application of Federal Character Principle does not apply because “employment at that level is expected to take the catchment area of the host state or in this case the Federal Capital Territory and the surrounding catchment states into consideration”.
He said the commission’s job is to ensure that the Federal Character balancing index was followed in the recruitment process and “there is nothing secret about it.”