The National Examinations Council (NECO) has announced the indefinite postponement of its 2024 staff promotion examination earlier billed to hold on Wednesday, February 14-15, 2024 in Minna, Niger State.
According to a statement signed by Azeez Sani, the acting director of the Directorate of Information and Digital Communication at NECO, the postponement was in compliance with the directive of the committee on basic examination bodies of the Federal House of Representatives.
The committee has also scheduled a meeting with Dantani Ibrahim Wushishi, the registrar/chief executive officer of NECO for Monday, February 19, 2024.
“The postponement was in compliance with the directive of the committee on Basic Examination Bodies of the House of Representatives as contained in a letter referenced NASS/HR/10/CT.20/64 dated February 9, 2024 and signed by the chairman of the legislative committee, Oboku Abonsizibe Oforji.
“With this development, all NECO staff who are due for promotion this year, should note that the exercise has been put on hold indefinitely,” the statement read in part.
Recall that BusinessDay earlier reported that NECO had directed its staff members eligible for promotion to appear at its headquarters in Minna, Niger State capital from January 13, 2024, to January 15, 2024.
And that many of the staff, especially those residing outside the state, however kicked against the development due to insecurity ravaging the country.
According to a circular signed by Folake Eweje, director of Human Resource Management all staff across the country were to travel to Minna and were to bear the cost of transportation, accommodation and other expenses that is associated with it.
“I am directed to inform all staff that the Registrar/Chief Executive has approved that the 2024 staff promotion examination holds; and staff would be expected to bear the cost of their transportation and accommodation,” the circular reads in part.
BusinessDay learnt that the circular sparked dissatisfaction among the staff, especially those working in state offices outside the council’s headquarters in Minna.
Some of the staff that spoke to the media expressed concern over the current insecurity in the country which has left many, especially those travelling interstate, at the mercy of kidnappers.
“As civil servants, we already face various financial challenges and imposing another expense for our own promotion exams only adds to our financial burden. It feels like we are being asked to pay for the opportunity to advance in our careers,” one of the workers said.
Another staff queried the rationale behind the circular, citing the established norms of the civil service, which according to him stipulates that promotions are to be based on merit and performance and not on individual’s financial capacity.
“Because if one cannot afford to sponsor himself or herself to travel to Minna for the promotion examinations, it means we are moving towards a system where financial means could potentially influence career advancement, thus undermining the fundamental principles upon which the public service is built,” he said.