It was an agonizing experience for hundreds of Nigerian job seekers who met their hopes dashed by pervasive corruption that marred recently conducted police recruitment exercise.
Over 300 Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) and Inspector Cadets selected for interview, and over 200 ASP and inspector cadets on reserve were replaced in yet-to-be explained manner by the Police Service Commission (PSC).
It will be recalled that, President Muhammadu Buhari had last year, as part of his administration’s plan resolved to strengthen security in the country and ordered recruitment of 10,000 personnel to the Nigerian Police Force.
The process to adopt in the recruitment process caused friction between the PSC and the National Assembly that proposed different approaches. While the Senate Committee on Police wanted each local council to have nine candidates, the PSC insisted on equality of states as a criterion.
However, the exercise which had hitherto offered hopes to several applicants that submitted themselves to the processes required by the Police Service Commission (PSC), later went awry when the recruitment process was hijacked.
It was learnt that names of candidates already published by the commission as ‘successful’ and instructed to embark on the training that precedes their full engagement into the Police Force, were covertly replaced with those who didn’t take part in the recruitment process.
The names of successful candidates in the recruitment process which was published on the commission’s website on the 6th of December, 2016 and three other daily newspapers (Leadership, Tribune and Sun) between 26-28/12/2016, did not correspond with those eventually admitted to training camps, when they (successful candidates) turned up on 31st of December, 2016.
They were subsequently told by an official of the commission who addressed them that there were complications with their proceedings as regards the training and once the PSC resolved it, they would be contacted to resume training.
One of the applicants, Mr Olalekan Abiona said, “Majority of us thought we were finally getting it right in this country when the exercise began. We thought the son of a common man can get a federal job without knowing someone who knows someone.
“On getting to the camp, those billed for interview and the reserved ones were told to go home and await further instructions as regards the next line of action. They told us that we would be called soon, and now they are saying the recruitment is over,” he added.
One of the successful candidates for the position of an Inspector Cadet who pleaded anonymity, also recounted his experience of the recruitment exercise after he and his co-applicants had deemed it fit to visit Police Service Commission.
He explained that, “After waiting for nearly two months, on Monday 27th February, 2017, arrangements were made by some concerned individuals to visit the Police Service Commission for clarifications, why we were yet to be called for the interview, and why the reserved ones have not been called to join our colleagues who are already training in the various camps across the nation.
“What we learnt from the PSC was rather shocking as a certain Special Advisers in the commission opined that, we have been replaced and that the recruitment is over.”
He added that while they were still at the Police Staff College Jos, which is the training center for Cadet ASPs, they observed that most names among the total number of 261 names on the list of those who were to undergo training did not apply for the job let alone partaking in the recruitment processes.
“It’s a pity such thing could happen in this country after they had gone public with our names, this is an absolute embarrassment. I can tell you that some applicants voluntarily resigned from the jobs due to this misdemeanor while some had accident during the course of this recruitment,” he narrated.
Another set of applicants claimed they visited the PSC headquarters in Abuja, where they met with some senior officers, said it dawned on them that they had been shortchanged, as “the general secretary, the special adviser, and the second in command to the chairman of the commission could not defend this (their replacement).”
“Just as it was in Jos, the names on the list of candidates in Abuja, which were made available to the various training camps, were entirely new list, which is different from those published on either the website of the commission or the three newspapers.”
Checks conducted to determine what could have warranted the unexplained decision of the PSC to replace candidates who have been deemed to be ‘successful’ with those who never took part in the recruitment process, showed monumental corruption, a situation which saw slots of ‘successful’ candidates sold for between N500,000 to N1,000,000.
Some of those whose names replaced the ‘successful’ candidates, it was learnt, did not apply for the job, or did they take part in written test, screening and medical evaluation as conducted for those who submitted themselves to the recruitment process, yet, they were asked to resume, at the expense of the reserved and those billed for interview.
“Yes I was in front of the college today and a guy said he paid N600k to ICT office in PSC, but unfortunately on reaching there his name was not on the supplementary list”, an applicant, who pleaded anonymity, said.
Also registering his disappointment on the replacement of their names by the PSC, a candidate who identifies himself as Daniel noted that such attitude is not healthy for the nation’s growth, saying it cannot be well that some people see themselves above others in this country.
“After all the stress, money spent on transportation and risks associated with travelling on our roads, some folks who didn’t make the cut initially are resuming camp at the moment right in our faces,” Daniel angrily submitted.
“This county is such a joke, some group of people believe they can go to public with our names and still shortchange us for their personal gain, and they think they will get away with it.
“They claim the recruitment is over, yet their cohorts are currently resuming the various camps at the moment.
“These people with long legs so to speak will pass out and continue the same trend in the Nigerian Police and we want Nigeria to be better. until the day son of a Peasant gets what’s due to him on merit this country can never be better.
“They should know, this is not business as usual, our voices must be heard,” he said.
But reactions from Police Service Commission have not been gotten as at when filling this report.