Sources said the new recruits were more than 200.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited is embroiled in a fresh crisis over the secret recruitment of new employees without recourse to extant guidelines, SaharaReporters has gathered.
According to multiple sources, the recruitment was done between January and February 2023 by the Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari in contravention of the due process for conducting recruitments into Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as established by the Nigerian Government.
Most of those who benefited from the secretive process included children of personal aides and ministers of former President Muhammadu Buhari.
Other beneficiaries of the crooked process were family members of senior government officials, lawmakers, and serving and past governors.
Topping the list are the children and relatives of the Personal Assistant on Domestic Affairs to Ex-President Buhari, Sarki Abba.
SaharaReporters also learnt that the exercise was lopsided in favour of certain sections of the country contrary to the provisions of the federal character.
The recruitments have drawn widespread condemnations from the staff of the agency who alleged the newly recruited persons were positioned over them.
“Over 200 people were secretly recruited here in NNPC to the position of Deputy Manager and Manager without following due process. The Group CEO of NNPC, Mele Kyari secretly recruited these people who are children of top politicians in the former administration without following the laid down rule which is against the public service act.
“Kyari unilaterally handed employment letters to these individuals without any competency aptitude test or interview, they are all children of top politicians of the Buhari’s administration and children of friends and family members.
“If you recall that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIA) was passed into law for more transparency and accountability in NNPC but the reverse is the case, the PIA has given the group CEO enormous powers that he now runs NNPC as his personal company without recourse to any law, because as it stands now, nobody is checking him and he does whatever he likes.
“A lot of my colleagues from SS4 to SS1 were denied promotion by Kyari, only for him to recruit inexperienced people as Deputy Manager and Manager at the detriment of experienced hands, this is quite unfortunate.
“Many staff members of NNPC are not happy with the way the company is being managed by Kyari, so we are calling on President Bola Tinubu and relevant authorities to revoke the appointment letters and due process should be followed,” an employee of NNPC told SaharaReporters.
Garba Deen Muhammad, Chief Corporate Communications Officer of NNPC confirmed the secret recruitment process.
He, however, told SaharaReporters that only a few people were employed.
“As a CAMA company we conduct our activities based on business needs and we are not obliged to follow dictates other than what serves our business needs and in accordance with our vision, mission and values,” Muhammad told SaharaReporters.
“Thus as a matter of exigency, NNPC resorted to headhunting. Based on specific skill needs, the company employed a few people (about 20). NNPC did not employ 200 as you mentioned.”
Recently, SaharaReporters exclusively reported how Kyari and Chief Financial Officer of the NNPC, Umar Ajiya paid themselves billions of Naira as gratuities while still in active service.
According to a source, the officials made the move over the fear of being retired compulsorily by the new government of Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“Isn’t this corruption? Our Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari and the Chief Financial Officer, Umar Ajiya paid themselves gratuity running into billions of naira while still in active service which is against the public service rules,” a source had said.
“With the Petroleum Industry Act that was passed by the National Assembly, NNPC transited into a limited liability company with share capital for more transparency and accountability and to be a profit-driven organization. But unfortunately, under Kyari and Ajiya, the reverse is the case.
“The fear that they may be sacked or asked to go on retirement suddenly made these two individuals to pay themselves humongous gratuity while still in active service.
“They are both running NNPC as their personal company because nobody is checkmating the both of them.”
But Muhammad denied the allegations, saying they were paid for their services to “NNPC and not NNPCL.”