By Goodluck Ikiebe
Following the disparity between Higher National Diploma (HND) and University Degree holders, some concerned men and officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps have called on the federal government to wade into the issue.
The group, who was lamenting the ill-treatment and lack of career progression in the Corps, said the disparity in the scheme of service has resulted in a lack of morale booster for holders of HND holders in the NSCDC.
It could be recalled that recently, the Federal government removed the dichotomy between degree and higher national diploma certificate holders in the civil defence, fire, immigration, and Prison services.
There has been a disparity between holders of the two academic qualifications in the civil service. At the entry point, degree holders are usually a notch higher on the grade level than their diploma-holding counterparts.
But while lamenting the lack of equal treatment by the Corps, the Concerned HND holders in NSCDC said the 2012 intakes who are HND holders in NSCDC are being badly treated, compared to their mates in other Sister Agencies under the same Ministry of Interior.
” HND holders were recruited into the NSCDC in the year 2012 as Inspector of Corps rank (Grade Level 07). The same year, on the same process, NCE holders were placed on GL 07 and Bsc holders on GL 08.
“This was based on the conditions of service at that time, which was a bad indicator of suppressing some set of people instead of encouraging competence and proactiveness between HND holders and Bsc, as is found in other Sister Agencies for effective service delivery because of how sensitive security responsibility is.
“We wrote the Confirmation and Promotion examination in the year 2014, with the Bsc counterparts, being the statutory year to be confirmed, according to Public Service Rules.
‘The Bsc holders were advanced, but rather, in our case, we were not advanced neither properly placed nor promoted after passing the COMPRO exam, contrary to extant regulations
The group said in 2016, there was another replacement/recruitment exercise, and all Officers recruited then as Assistant Superintendent of Corps II (ASCII) were all given automatic promotions to the next rank while all HND holders recruited in 2012 were still in stagnation as Inspectors of Corps. (Grade level 7) till 2018.
But in 2018, the Federal Government enforced the removal of the HND/BSC dichotomy, and this order was implemented in other Sister Para-military Agencies under the Ministry of Interior since the year 2016. That, therefore, became a saving grace for HND 2012 intakes to progress to ASCII (Level 8) in 2018.
“Majority of our Bsc holders, counterparts, that we were recruited together in the year 2012, are now hanging the rank of Superintendent ( Eagle, i.e. GL 11), while up to 95% of us, HND holders of 2012 recruits, are painfully stagnated to one star( ASCII, GL 08) up till now i.e. year 2023!
“After being denied promotion exams for many years, 2022 made it the 4th consecutive year that we have been writing and passing promotion examinations, yet, without promotion!
“All other categories of personnel, including SSCE, NCE and Trade test holders have been writing promotion exams, as at when due, except the holders of the HND 2012 intake who have been variously denied for several years!
“Some junior officers that were recruited in 2012 with CAIII, GL 03, (The least rank) who later got themselves enrolled in Part-time degree programs, were not only converted to the Senior rank but also inexplicably got promoted to two-star (ASCI, GL 09), thereby placing them above us that were recruited initially with HND Certificates in 2012!
“Since April 16, 2012( 11 years down the line), when we were nominally enlisted into NSCDC, the majority of us don’t know what a promotion letter looks like. Even the so-called 2016 Advancement, up till now, there is no letter issued to that effect!
“It has become an annual ritual in NSCDC that Officers from the junior cadre get converted into the Superintendent cadre, thereby creating an unnecessary and questionable shoot-up in the number of senior officers in the Corps, and also making promotion to the next rank extremely difficult, to the detriment of us that were recruited with HND certificate in 2012!”
Having removed the dichotomy, The NSCDC started upgrading both the holders of Bsc and HND of 2019 intakes together. Those who got recruited and trained in the year 2022 were decorated with one star. This means they will be hanging two stars as soon as their COMPRO results are considered, just like their colleagues in the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS), are already in two stars. Without mincing words, this places us in an uncomfortable, unpalatable and unacceptable position of having to be juniors to two batches of recruits after us (i.e. 2016 and 2019 intakes)!
“Our career stagnancy after 11 years of enlistment into the active service of NSCDC is unfair and unjust. There is no gainsaying this is alien to the Public Service Rule which stipulates that officers in our cadre should have a maximum of three years before they get promoted to the next rank. We shouldn’t be made to write another promotion exam this year again as we have been grossly shortchanged in the years back.
The group then called on President Bola Tinubu, the Senate President and all concerned to look into their matter and restore them to the right rank, which reflects their years of service, just like the 2012 Bsc holders and HND holders in other Sister Agencies.
Efforts to get reaction from the Civil Defence headquarters proved abortive.