Senate Steps Into PPPRA Recruitment Scandal After Death of Sacked Graduate
Barely a month after SIGNAL exclusively broke the news of the scandal of a secret employment racket at Nigeria’s Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), the Nigerian Senate has appealed to the board and management of the agency to rescind its decision to sack 34 graduates who had worked as temporary staff in the agency.
The affected workers had through their lawyer, Uche Ayogu, petitioned the Senate to protest against their forceful disengagement from the PPPRA.
SIGNAL had exclusively reported how the 34 graduates who worked as contract staff at PPPRA were denied employment after working for seven years only for the agency to secretly recruit one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s daughters Hadiza among other children of Nigerian elites for limited job slots in November 2019 without any public advertisement or consideration of the promise of employment initially made to the contract staff.
One of the affected staff, Uche Ugwu, 37 died recently of high blood pressure.
The petition to the Senate explained that 34 workers that served as youth corps members in the PPPRA were engaged in 2012 on a contract of six months, subject to renewal. They were, however, disengaged verbally in 2017.
But the Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, appealed to the PPPRA to find a way of absorbing the sacked casual workers.
Ayogu, had also told the Senate panel that the 34 casual workers were engaged for six months subject to renewal but added that after working for about seven years, they were disengaged verbally.
He said, “One of the disengaged persons went to court. That was only one out of 34. One person is dead.
“None of them was found wanting in the course of their job. These people ought to be in the first priority list if there should be recruitment,” the lawyer said.
However, the Human Resources Manager of PPPRA, Yusuf Muazu, said three out of the 34 graduates who met the agency’s criteria for employment had been employed.
SIGNAL gathered that the three contract staff who were employed are children of Nigerian elites. “One of the three they employed is the daughter of a director at DSS and another is the son of a former top manager at NNPC”, one of the aggrieved contract staff who did not want to be named disclosed.
But the chairman of the Senate committee, who said some of the casual workers had been trained, urged PPPRA to reabsorb them.
The secret recruitment which secured a job for President Buhari’s daughter was carried out by the current Executive Secretary of the agency, Abdulkadir Umar Saidu an indigene of Buhari’s Katsina home state. Saidu is said to run the agency like his personal business knowing he has the full backing of the President. It is unclear if he will heed the appeals of the Nigerian Senate.
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