In his address on May 1 at the Workers Day celebration, the Niger state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello claimed –
1. He has employed 250 graduates through the Civil Service Commission with 10 each from the 25 local government areas of Niger state.
2. That the state had employed 151 young men and women into the state fire service
3. 400 health workers ranging from doctors, nurses and Laboratory technicians have been employed.
CONCLUSION: All of the claims are UNPROVEN and cannot be rated as true or false because of the conflicting evidence from the authorities. However, these same inconsistencies make these claims very unlikely to be true.
The Niger state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello while addressing workers on May 1st, 2019 at the Workers Day Celebration claimed he has employed 250 graduates through the Niger state Civil Service Commission with 10 each from the 25 local government area of Niger state.
He also claimed the government has employed 151 young men and women into the state Fire Service, and that 400 health workers ranging from doctors, nurses and laboratory technicians have been employed.
The Governor said: “So far in this administration, we have employed 250 graduates through the State Civil Service Commission with 10 each from the 25 Local Government Areas.
“We have also employed 151 young men and women into the State Fire Service, this is addition to the employment of over 400 health workers ranging from doctors, nurses to laboratory technicians.”
These claims have sparked debates on Facebook especially on pages and groups belonging to indigenes of the state. And it is alleged the Governor made the claim to make people believe he has been addressing the unemployment issue in the state.
Note that the Governor has been in office for four years (since 2015) and was just re-elected in 2019 for another four years. The Governor also did not specify if he meant that the employment occurred this year or since 2015.
Contacting the Governor’s office on the claim, the Chief Press Secretary, Mrs. Mary Berje, after due consultations said the employments began from late 2015 and spread throughout the first tenure which ended in May 2019.
In the meantime, let’s see what public information says –
CLAIM 1: Information on the state Civil Service Commission website shows that 412 people were ‘recently’ employed but no indication on the website shows how many were graduates or what recently means.
To start with, we checked the State Civil Service Commission, the state arm of the Federal Civil Service Commission which is saddled with the responsibility of appointing persons to offices in the state civil service, dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over persons holding offices in the civil service, promote and terminate appointments amongst other activities. The Civil Service Commission is headed by a Chairman, Alhaji Shehu Yusuf Galadima.
The website of the Commission revealed that 412 people were recently employed into the Niger state civil service, although the year of employment or exact date was not stated. 412 candidates and their positions were listed on the website.
CLAIM 2: Information on the state Civil Service Commission website also shows that 110 people were employed into the state fire service, not 151
Contrary to the Governor’s claim of 151 fire men and women employed, the website showed that in the state fire service, 60 firemen/women, 12 fire officers, 23 assistant Superintendent and 15 superintendent were employed which made the total number of people employed in the state fire service to be 110 and not 151 as the state Governor claimed.
CLAIM 3: According to the civil service via its website, only 257 health personnel have been employed. This contradicts what the Governor said. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health claimed that 627 people were recruited while 350 are awaiting appointment letters.
For the medical personnel, only 257 were shown to have been employed comprising of 5 Biomedical Engineers, 12 Medical Laboratory Scientists (BMLs) , 20 Medical Doctors, 6 Medical Laboratory Assistants, 10 Medical Recorder Technicians, 10 Medical Recorders, 130 Nurses/Midwives, 10 Pharmacist Technicians, 15 Pharmacists, 5 Physiotherapists, 15 Radiographers, 4 Science Laboratory Technicians (SLT), and 15 Dental Technicians.
This negates the claim that 400 medical personnel were employed in the state.
However, going further in the investigation, the Chairman of the Commission, Alhaji Shehu Yusuf Galadima was contacted and he told the reporter that 342 health workers have been recruited- 151 fire service men and officers, 150 trained teachers, 250 graduates who are engineers, accountants and administrative staff.
He however stated that the Ministry of health may have recruited more staff than the figure he gave as the Ministry has the mandate to recruit as they deem fit.
This was confirmed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Muhammad Makunsidi who, in response to a text message sent to him, said that 627 health personnel have been recruited while interviews have been conducted for another 350 awaiting appointment letters.
From this, it appears that there is no proper coordination of employment in the State Civil Service. In fact, the chairman informed information on the website cannot be solely relied upon as the website was only set up in 2017 after he (the Chairman) took over office in 2016 and before then, recruitment had been made in 2015 which was not uploaded on the website.
EVEN IF THESE CLAIMS ARE TRUE, WHAT IS THE STATE OF UNEMPLOYMENT IN NIGER IN RELATION TO THESE JOBS?
Statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reveal that as at the end of the 3rd quarter of 2018, about 399,885 people were unemployed in Niger state.
The unemployment rate for Niger state, according to NBS, rose from 10.76% in the 3rd quarter of 2017 to 20.9% in 2018. This represents a 10.1% increase in the unemployment rate over the same quarter in 2017.
Note that unemployment is different from underemployment. In Nigeria, the definition of unemployment covers persons (aged 15–64) who during the reference period were currently available for work, actively seeking work but were without work.
Thus, voluntary full-time housewives, underage children 14 and below, adults above 65, full-time students, those who left their jobs for a Master’s programme, those in active military service, physically challenged and incapacitated persons whose in-capitation prevents them from working would not be classified as unemployed.
While underemployment refers to the condition in which people in a labor force are employed at less than full-time or regular jobs or at jobs inadequate with respect to their training or economic needs. It can also mean the under-use of a worker due to a job that does not use the worker’s skills, or is part time, or leaves the worker idle.
So, according to NBS Statistics for the 3rd quarter of 2018, while 399,885 people are unemployed, 516,507 are underemployed, out of a total of 1,917,790 people who are able and willing to work in the state.
What this means is that for a population of 3,954,772, with an unemployment figure of 399,885 and underemployment figure of 516,507 as at last year, the employment of over 800 workers seem like a drop of water in the ocean.
CONCLUSION: All of the claims are UNPROVEN and cannot be rated as true or false, because of the conflicting evidence from the authorities. However, these same inconsistencies make these claims very unlikely to be true.
This fact-check was done by a Dubawa Fact-checking Fellow in collaboration with The Nation, the second-most-read newspaper in Nigeria according to a 2011 report by The Advertisers’ Association of Nigeria