Group Cries Foul over Recuitment Fraud, wants Kogi TSC Board Probe

FULL Statement of VANGUARD FOR DEMOCRATIC CONSCIOUSNESS (VDC), KOGI STATE, NIGERIA –
Worried by the glaring gross irregularities that have so far characterized the on-going processes and conditions of recruiting prospective secondary school teachers by the State Teaching Service Commission (TSC), and the intense complaints by the applicants, the need for the people of kogi to become conscious of the corporate fraud and take possible actions to avert its attendant malady is imperative.

It is worthy of recall that in May this year, the (Captain) Idris Wada-led State government of Kogi State, through its TSC, announced its decision to recruit teachers. The Battalions of Unemployed Graduates (BUG) of Kogi State origin heaved a deep sigh of relief as such opportunity has not shown-up in a long time. The Commission (TSC) categorically requested only university graduates in the fields of English Language, computer science, Mathematic, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Agricultural science and Geography to apply within six weeks.

However, the respite of these Battalions of Unemployed Graduates (BUG) was soon brought to an abrupt end, as the anomalies that pervade the recruitment processes appropriate it to a mere scheme designed to further exploit the already impoverished and economically debilitating graduates and masses of Kogi State and by extension Nigeria.

Our claims can be adequately confirmed in the following areas:

1, Contrary to what it advertised, the Chief Onoja-led TSC, in connivance with NECO represented by one Dr. Jacob Ekele who doubles as the Organization’s Coordinator but who serve the government of Kogi as SSA, shortlisted all the applications it received, irrespective of the field and certificate – B.sc/B.ed, HND, NCE, Diploma and perhaps, non certificate carriers or those with certificates in MEDIOCRITY. While we will appreciate any genuine effort made to provide jobs to all the jobless- literates and non-literates alike, we make bold to say that the decision of TSC to shortlist all applicants was done with a view to milking them of their hard-earned N3000, and not to give them equal opportunity to compete for the very limited space.

2, About fifteen thousand candidates have been shortlisted and applications are still being collected by NECO. This may continue until their target of 15,000-20,000 candidates is achieved. Within these figures, the two bodies (TSC & NECO) are set to rake in between N45,000,000m- N60,000,000m from our jobless and hungry brothers and sisters. Our field investigation shows that States like Oyo, Ekiti, Osun, and Kaduna dat did similar exercise charged a N1000, with Cross River State and few others charging between N1500- N2000. The 500 vacancies declared by the State ridicules the intention of government considering the mass unemployment rate in the state. It also embarrasses the citizens of the State when compared to States like kebbi, Jigawa, Bauchi, Kaduna and Imo that have indicated intention to employe between 8000-12000 teachers. How Chief Onoja and his cohort in NECO (Kogi State) arrived at N3000 per applicant calls for a forensic investigation.

3, With the shortlisted applicants put at 15,000, against the backdrop of 500 available vacancies, only about 3.4% of the total applicants will be employed, while the remaining 96.6% will have to wait for only God knows when. In effect, the value of the total sum that bears on them (BUG) is N1.500,0000m which represents about 3.3%, while the remaining N43000000m representing 96.7% goes to the pockets of few bureaucratic cabals in offices. There is a total of 238 public secondary schools in Kogi State, with 3000 teachers. In the average, there are 11.3 public secondary schools in each LGA, with 12.6 teachers each. With the recruitment of 500 teachers, there is an increase of 23.8 teachers in LGA, amounting to just addition of insignificant 2.1 teachers to each of the 238 public secondary school in Kogi state. The 714 applicants in each 21 LGAs will have aggregate to N2,142,857 to compete for23.8 job slots. Where then is the economic and social justice in this venture?

4, It is diversionary and misleading for Chief Onoja to have claimed in Royal Times of Nigeria Newspaper of June 27, 2013 that “6000 graduates battles for 500 teaching jobs in Kogi”. The truth of the matter is that over 15000 applications are already treated, more applications are being collected by NECO. Ankpa, Dekina, Okene, Ofu, Yagba East, with 1866, 1846, 938, 808 and 746 applicants respectively, which amounts to more than 6000 already.

Worst still and further more is the extra burden mindlessly placed on the BUG members who have applied. A good number of them live in villages and Local Government Areas, while others live in other States of the Federation, in search of sustenance. The implications of their greedy policy on these BUG members outside Lokoja, the State Capital is that first, some of them will have to travel to Lokoja to pay their N3000, as payment can only be made to the designated bank ( Kogi Savings and Loan) in Lokoja. Then on the interview day, of course, every BUG for the test must be in Lokoja. In effect, our brothers and sisters in distant places even within the State, such as Ankpa, Igalamela-Odolu, Ibaji, Bassa in East, Yagba, Mopamoro, Egbe in the West and Ogori/Magongo and Okehi In the Central will travel the distances of between 2-3 hours, costing between N2000-N4000 to and fro. Those residing in other States will travel between the distance of 400-1400km, costing between N4000-12000 to and fro. In addition to all these are the administrative charge by the bank and the cost of internet airtime for filling the form. By implication, the total cost of TSC’s interview stands at between N6000-N15000. Also critical, is the risk of accidents and highway hoodlums they will be exposed to on our “wonderful” roads. All these costs are for a job one’s probability of getting is 1 over 30, that is where the jobs have not been given out on political patronage.

The joint bodies of VDC and BUG condemns in a very strong terms, this fascist, corrupt and oppressive policy. The people of Kogi State reject and consider it very unacceptable. We therefore make the following declarations:

We call on:

1, His Excellency, Governor (Captain) Idris Wada to suspend the on-going fraud by TSC & NECO, and also remove Chief Sylvester Onoja as TSC Chairman to pave way for thorough investigation into the racketeering that engulfed the Organization in the recent time.

2, EFCC & ICPC to immediately probe into the activities of TSC.

3, BUG members to stop further payments and those that have paid should call for the immediate refund of their money .

4, Our traditional rulers, the EPA, ICDA, ODA, Bassas, O/Magongo, E/Koto, Oworo, Nupe and others to intervene to put a stop to this corporate robbery on the poverty-stricken BUG.

Finally, we appeal to the “Battalions of Unemployed Graduates(BUG)” and parents to be calm as we expect the appropriate quarters to take necessary actions on or before 4pm, Thursday, 8th August, 2013, failure which will compel us to explore every constitutional means to repel this evil against the masses of our people.

Thanks,…………Baba, MP. Abdulrazak- Coordinator, VDC.

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