Senate considers stiffer penalties for job racketeers

Olabode AfurewajuMay 15, 20243 min

Disregard for federal character principles in job employment, and other irregularities that violate the Nigerian constitution must be met with stiffer penalties.

The Senate is set to consider stiffer penalties to stem job racketeering, disregard for federal character principles in job employment, and other irregularities that violate the Nigerian constitution.

This was disclosed Tuesday by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator Allwell Onyesoh (PDP, Rivers East), after a crucial meeting of the committee with the Chairperson and management of the Federal Character Commission.

Senator Onyesoh said Nigeria is now sitting on a keg of gunpowder as people react to issues based on emotion and Nigerians have gotten to a point where they no longer look at issues deeply, but they react the social media way; “you just read something, you move it on, copy it, and send it to the next person. Nobody tries to clarify, no investigation any more”.

He said it is something that is very dangerous, and it is easy to ignite a place. A simple statement like, “Oh this thing is out, we are not getting it. There is a job there, they are employing secretly, which is enough to cause problems.”

The FCC’s purview covers that. We felt it was proper to call them and sit down, dot the ‘I’ and cross the ‘t’, to make every activity more transparent and glaringly clear for people to see. We want to open up the space. OrderPaper notes that this aligns with Agenda 6 of the 10th House, “Inclusion and Open Parliament.”

READ MORE: Press freedom in Legislative Agenda of the 10th National Assembly

He said the essence of the federal character principle is to create unity, fairness and equity, adding that “you can’t have that if someone is feeling rejected, feeling not carried along.”

The committee learnt that the current sanction for violating the federal character principle is a fine of N50,000. Therefore, the chairman said, “You must put some sanctions if you want things to work. We are considering stiffer penalties; there must be a consequence for everything”, adding that “this is one of the few committees that derives its power from the constitution”.

Earlier, the executive chairperson of FCC, Dr Muheeba Farida Dankaka, denied that job sales were taking place under her watch, adding that they had happened in the past when “the place was like a marketplace.”

She urged the committee to help the commission correct past wrongs through its budget, as the 2024 capital approved for them by the National Assembly was reduced to zero by the Budget and Planning Office.

Olabode Afurewaju

Graduate of political science and international relations with a passion for public relations, He aims to support all current frameworks that promote development and the integrity of democratic processes through discussion and advocacy.

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