Unrest at FIRS as officials revolt over incessant promotional exams

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Over five hundred employees of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) have rebelled against the management and are refusing to write promotional examinations after the tests got delayed for over four hours.

The promotional exam has been a subject of controversy prior to today due to the cancellation of two previously written exams stemming from allegations of malpractice.

The exams, slated for 8:00 a.m. at the Public Service Institute of Nigeria, did not commence as of 12:45 p.m., when the president of the FIRS Unit of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Lekwot Thomas Friday, arrived the centre and instructed all staff to go home.

Excited screams greeted Mr Friday’s directive from the staff, who had become frustrated after waiting for hours to take the tests that would advance them to the next rung of the civil service ladder.

Two staff members lost consciousness as they waited for the exams to start and were taken to a health facility. One staff member had passed out unexpectedly, and the other experienced an asthma attack.

Some of the staff who spoke with The Gazette during today’s protests expressed their discontentment with the management’s handling of the situation.

When asked to elaborate on the reasons for asking staff members to go home, Mr Thomas declined to comment on the matter. He said it was an internal issue that would be addressed within the FIRS.

“The exams are about to start,” FIRS spokesman Johannes Wojuola told The Gazette. “People have returned to take it.”

The controversial tests come as hundreds of staff members are raising charges of rights violations against the management, led by chairman Muhammad Nami.

The employees said the management failed to approve promotions after they sat two previous exams over the past year, fuelling speculation that available positions might already have been dubiously given to unqualified personnel.

The management, however, said personnel were massively promoted as recently as 2020, noting that the current promotional exercise was planned to ensure that more qualified officials take charge of tax administration in the country.

Officials said the management had assured them that promotions will be approved at the conclusion of today’s examinations, with additional safeguards already put in place to guarantee the integrity of the exercise.

The FIRS is the country’s largest revenue generator, bridging the gap between the formal and informal sectors to raise enough funds to maintain the country’s public service and critical infrastructure obligations.

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