In order to ensure transparency, equity, and justice in its recruitment processes, the Federal Government has successfully conducted computer based tests for the screening and recruitment of over 19,000 officers into the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS), Federal Fire Service (FFS) and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). The Ministry of Interior under the leadership of Rauf Aregbesola, in a move that is unprecedented in the annals of the ministry partnered with the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to carry out the test in order to give youths seeking employment equal opportunities to be employed into the services. The aim of the exercise is to further strengthen the current administration’s policy thrust of ensuring transparency in the conduct of government business. The ministry required that applicants insert their National Identification Numbers (NIN) during registration to ensure that applicants meet requirements for the tasks. This development, according to Aregbesola, is to ensure that thousands of people get employed without favouritism and nepotism. The minister also said the recruitment processes were made free with no candidate paying any money.
process and its loopholes The Ministry of the Interior is a part of the Federal Ministries of Nigeria tasked with providing complementary internal security and other ancillary services within the country. One of the functions of the ministry include recruitment of officers and men of the Correctional Service, Immigration Service, Fire Service and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps. However, the recruitment exercises into the services before now were marred with rancour and confusion a few years ago. For instance, the recruitment into the NIS in 2014 was marred with blood, sorrow and tears. No fewer than seven persons were confirmed dead in Abuja, Ni-Port Harcourt, Rivers State and two in Minna, Niger State. Several others also sustained injuries from stampedes which occurred at various examination centres. At least 20 people also lost their lives in various states of the federation during a similar exercise conducted for the Nigeria Prisons Service, the Customs Service and the NIS in 2008. Aside these, the services’ recruitment exercises have a history of controversies, nepotism, job racketeering and lopsidedness.
Meanwhile, all of these irregularities have since stopped from 2019 under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. Some officials of the NSCDC expressed their satisfaction in the new development. One of them said: “Gone are the days when National Assembly members and top political office holders influence the recruitment of applicants into the services. This is the best I have seen as security personnel in Nigeria.” Speaking on the reforms and initiatives of the Ministry of Interior in the last two years, Aregbesola told journalists at a press conference in Abuja last week that his leadership is dedicated; “to having a technology driven recruitment process that is seamless for applicants.” This, he believed, will help to reduce recruitment error and enhance the performance of the paramilitary agencies. Speaking on how the ministry partnered with JAMB, he noted that the ministry met with the JAMB board and they agreed to use the examination body’s accredited centres nationwide. “This has eliminated the chaotic situations applicants go through to write application exams. It has also eliminated any form of corruption in the process and made it more transparent,’’ said while adding that: “This would be standard practice going forward. Over 19,335 officers have been recruited in the period under review. This comprises 2,200 for FFS, 7,745 for NCoS, 4,390 for NIS and 5,000 for NSCDC.’’ He also said the ministry is in discussion with stakeholders for the setting up of an e-learning portal that will provide continuous and mandatory learning and personal development for officers.
In his commendation to Aregbesola, a public affairs analyst and social critic, Rasaq Akinfolarin, commented that the current government has demonstrated credibility and trust in the recruitment exercises. “The federal government has been able to prove that reckless deaths at examination centres could be averted. He has also proved the agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari against corruption. “The CBT recruitment process according to those who took the exercises was a good move and they would forever be grateful that something good is coming out of Nigeria.” An ICT expert, Patience Olatunde, said: “The recruitment process has further proved that with ICT, most of the problems associated with yearly recruitment have ended, especially at a time when the country is battling with all forms of insecurity.”