BY GABRIEL ENOGHOLASE
BENIN—NO fewer than 227 civil servants whose names were allegedly omitted from the payroll of the Edo State Civil Service for the month of March, 2014 have appealed to Governor Adams Oshiomhole of the state to intervene in their plight, just as they called for their reinstatement and payment of all their outstanding allowances.
The affected workers, in an open letter to the governor through their counsel, Mr. Olayiwola Afolabi, said that they had not attained the age of 60 nor served the mandatory 35 years in service in consonance with the Federal Government policy of computing the service years of public officers who have proceeded on study leave without pay, with effect from July 6, 2004.
“It is our understanding that their removal from the payroll was carried out on the premise that our clients need not enjoy any extension accruing from the extra years supposedly granted to workers who proceeded on study leave without pay and rightly proved themselves qualified in character and in learning and have, through the years, continuously employed the knowledge acquired to improve on the quality of service delivery in the state,” Afolabi said.
He quoted the Federal Government Circular dated December 1, 2006 by Mohammed Ahmed, Head of Service of the Federation, on approval of study leave for civil servants, which read: “Approval has been given for officers to serve the period they were on study leave without pay, provided that the period of study is limited to the normal duration of the course,” to prove their point.
Insisting that the Edo State Civil Service was under no compulsion to maintain the Federal Government’s position, they, however said that by virtue of a circular dated September 13, 2007 by Dr. J.E. Igbinedion for the Head of Service, the state government communicated to all civil servants and the public that it had adopted the Federal Government’s policy on restoration of non-pensionability of the period of study leave without pay for officers as contained in the Federal Government circular.
The affected workers argued that by virtue of the circular letter dated September 13, 2007 and another dated March 17, 2009 from the office of the Head of Service, Edo State, the state government committed itself to ensuring the extension of their service period.