The Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, on Thursday, said his ministry does not and do not recruit staff into the ministry and cannot therefore account for the increased personnel cost of the ministry in the 2022 budget proposals. The Minister, who was the Senate Minority Leader in the 8th Senate and 2-term Governor of Akwa Ibom State, bemoaned at the Senate Committee on Niger Delta during the Ministry’s 2022 budget defence on why the wage bill of the Ministry skyrocketed from N1.4bn in 2021 to N1.6bn in the 2022 appropriation proposal. He said, “I see new staff every day. I don’t know how they are recruited. The Federal Civil Service Commission send them to us.
“I have had to question this before. They keep sending us new staff. We are not part of the recruitment exercise. The Civil Service Commission is the body responsible for that”. He added that, the Ministry also had some staff promotions within the year and movements from other ministries were also captured.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Peter Nwaobochi, consequently mandated the Ministry and Commission to forward the nominal roll of the Niger Delta Ministry, which captures details of both junior and senior staff, with their remunerations. Senator Mohammed Hassan (Zamfara Central), a member of the Committee, had queried the abnormal increase in the overheads of the ministry’s budget, demanding to know if new staff was recruited within the year under review.
The ministry’s total budget estimates for the year 2022 is N28.1bn against N24.3bn for the 2021 fiscal year.