The Federal Government is to recruit officers and men into the Federal Fire Service (FFS) and the Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS). Minister of Interior, Lieutenant-General Abdulrahman Dambazzau (Rtd) made the announcement on his twitter handle.
The Minister who was the country’s Chief of Army Staff between 2008 and 2010 says “the Board of Civil Defence, Fire Service, Prisons and Immigration has at its sittings on Thursday 9 and Friday 10 May 2019, approved…the recruitment into FFS and NPS”.
Dambazzau who as Interior Minister is the Chairman of the Board also made known other decisions taken at the two-day meeting. This includes the adoption of a “new Unified Conditions of Service” for the Civil Defence, Fire Service, Prisons and Immigration. Additionally, the Board approved the immediate “removal of dichotomy between Higher Diploma and Degree” in the four paramilitary services.
On the issue of abolishing the controversial dichotomy, the decision of the Board may be a reversal of its earlier position following the directive of the Federal Executive Council (FEC). The Board had at its meeting of July 11, 2017 approved the regularisation of the dichotomy between holders of University degrees and Higher National Diploma (HND) in all the Services.
The Board had about two years directed that all officers with HND be upgraded to COMPASS 08, which is the salary Grade Level for holders of Degree certificates at entry point. The HND holders were to start with the rank of Senior Inspector, while the Degree holders would be with the rank of Assistant Superintendent II.
It will be recalled that the Head of Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, had in a circular dated March 26, 2018, conveyed the decision of the National Council on Establishment which was approved by FEC to abolish the dichotomy between HND certificate holders and university degree holders at entry level. Oyo-Ita had at a media briefing in February 2019 however explained that “what was approved at FEC is that henceforth HND graduate who entered at the same level as degree holders will be on the same level at entry point in the civil service”
She explained further that “the issue of where they stop will still remain at Grade Level 14 unless they are able to acquire additional relevant degrees that can now covert them to officer cadre. We have explained this severally, but when people hear that BSC–HND dichotomy has been cancelled, everyone was jumping for joy as if it is automatically that HND will get up to Grade Level 17 in the public service. The issue still remains that HND still have to convert after having acquired relevant degrees, to the officer grade”.