The Federal Government stopped the National Information Technology Development Agency from recruiting 368 new employees it had issued employment letters to because the agency did not follow due process, the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, has said.
Shittu said this in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Victor Oluwadamilare, in Abuja on Wednesday.
The minister said the former Director-General of NITDA, Mr. Peter Jack, ignored due process in conducting the recruitment.
According to him, the recruitment process was stopped when it was realised that it did not follow laid-down procedure and that approvals were not obtained, while most of those employed did not have the requisite skills to adequately bridge the manpower gap at the agency.
“The employment process did not follow due process because employment letters were issued to the applicants even before the interview and the issuance of Certificate of Compliance by the Federal Character Commission, coupled with the disregard for the Ministry of Communication’s directive that the recruitment be put on hold,” Shittu stated.
The minister said that he could not be held liable for the non-absorption of the 368 candidates issued letters of appointment from the inconclusive recruitment exercise, adding that the former director-general of the agency contravened all civil service provisions for the recruitment exercise.
According the minister, the process that was not followed by the NITDA in the recruitment exercise included failure to compose Senior Staff Committee/Junior Staff Committee for the exercise; failure to advertise in two or more national dailies; failure to declare the establishment positions; and failure to invite observers from the Federal Civil Service Commission, Head of Service and Ministry of Communications.
In addition, he said the former NITDA boss failed to obtain the minister’s approval in the absence of a governing board for the agency.
Shittu added, “The candidates were not interviewed, no declaration of vacancies and no ministerial approval before letters of provisional appointment were issued and circulated on the 9th of November, 2015.
“The discrepancies in the employment procedure and non-compliance with laid down rules as well as financial infractions led to the suspension and the eventual disengagement of the former director-general by Mr. President with effect from the 12th of February, 2016.”