Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), requesting that he immediately withdraws hundreds of letters of employment issued following a seriously corrupt recruitment process and to put in place a system of recruitment and hiring based on the principles of non-discrimination, transparency, participation and objective criteria such as merit, equity and aptitude.
Warning that it would sue, SERAP said: “Should Mr Emefiele and the CBN fail and/or neglect to act as requested within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take appropriate legal action to ensure effective remedies for millions of Nigerians that have been denied equal opportunity to participate in the recruitment process. And this may be without further notice to you.”
In a statement issued on 18 March and signed by SERAP executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni, it said: “This corrupt process amounts to a fundamental breach of constitutionally and internationally recognized human rights of millions of Nigerians particularly the right to equality and non-discrimination, to work and to human dignity.”
“Instead of the CBN promoting equality of opportunity and access to employment for all Nigerians, it has perpetrated discrimination, and therefore denied an opportunity for economic self‑reliance and in many cases a means for millions of Nigerians to escape poverty and live a life of dignity.”
“The process also directly breaches article 7 of the UN Convention against Corruption which Nigeria has ratified. Article 7 requires institutions like the CBN to adopt, maintain and strengthen systems for the recruitment and hiring of civil servants that are based on principles of transparency and objective criteria such as merit, equity and aptitude.”
“SERAP believes that by the secret recruitment, millions of otherwise qualified Nigerians have been treated less favourably than the children of the politically and economically connected. This differential treatment is arbitrary and cannot be reasonably and objectively justified. It can in fact result in pervasive discrimination, stigmatization and negative stereotyping. The secret recruitment also offends the requirement for Nigeria to make the labour market open to everyone in the country.”
“SERAP notes that non-discrimination and equality are essential for the exercise and enjoyment of other constitutionally and internationally recognized human rights, as well as equal and effective protection before and of the law. We also remind you that every Nigerian has the right to be able to work, allowing him/her to live in dignity.”
“SERAP is seriously concerned that the secret recruitment unfairly deprives millions of Nigerians the right to work, impermissibly limiting their freedom regarding the choice to work, and undermining their personal development and social and economic inclusion. While the right to work is not an absolute and unconditional right to obtain employment, it implies the right of access to a system of protection guaranteeing every eligible Nigerian access to employment, and the right not to be unfairly deprived of employment.”
“The secret recruitment has therefore impaired and nullified the exercise of the rights of Nigerians, especially disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and groups to human dignity, equality and non-discrimination.”
“Furthermore, the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) provides in section 42 that a citizen of Nigeria of a particular group shall not, by reason only that he is such a person: a) be subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other groups are not made subject; or be accorded any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to all citizens of Nigeria.”
“Section 16(2) provides that the economic system will not be operated in such a manner as to permit the concentration of wealth or means of production and exchange in the hands of few individuals or of a group, such as the politically and economically connected or their children.”
“Section 17 provides that the state social order is founded on ideals of freedom, equality and justice. Subsection (3) of the same section provides that the state shall direct its policy towards, ensuring that all citizens without discrimination on any group whatever, have the opportunity for securing adequate means of livelihood as well as adequate opportunity to secure suitable employment.”
“According to reports, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) carried out an alleged secret recruitment of over 900 employees on your directive and under your supervision. Many of the beneficiaries are said to be children and relatives of the politically and economically connected. Our information suggests that there were no prior notifications on the recruitment through advertisements to give all Nigerians the opportunity to participate.”
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