By Victor Ahiuma-Young
ABUJA—THE Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, yesterday, accused the Federal Government of undermining the civil service rule.
It also rejected government’s extension of service for any permanent secretary, warning that such an act could completely destroy the public service.
Specifically, ASCSN berated perceived doublespeak of the Head of Service of the Federation, HOS, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, over the illegal extension of tenure of former Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Jamila Shu’ara.
ASCSN in a statement by its President, Bobboi Kaigama, and Secretary-General, Alade Bashir Lawal, lamented that Mrs. Oyo-Ita, who had earlier advised the Presidency not to extend the tenure of Mrs. Shu’ara because it violated Public Service Rules, had allegedly turned around canvassing that President Muhammadu Buhari had legal right to extend the tenure of permanent secretaries since he appointed them.
According to the statement, “this is very unfortunate because Oyo-Ita, who has in written documents described herself as ‘conscience of the Public Service’ because of her position as the HOS and has insisted that the tenure of permanent secretaries cannot be extended, is now singing a different song, telling the public that Mr. President can operate outside the Public Service Rules.”
‘’What we expect the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to do is to stick to her position that the extension of tenure of Mrs. Shu’ara is a breach of Sections 020810 (i & ii) and 020402 (i) (d) of the Public Service Rules and as such should be reversed.”
“We also agree with her earlier position that if Mrs. Shu’ara possesses special competencies as provided for in Section 020402 (i) (d) of the Public Service Rules, the Presidency should appoint her as Special Adviser, a view this union has continued to canvass.
‘’Section 020810 (i) of the Public Service Rules stipulates that “the compulsory retirement age for all grades in the service shall be 60 years or 35 years of pensionable service whichever is earlier” while subsection (ii) adds that: “No officer shall be allowed to remain in service after attaining the retirement age of 60 years or 35 years of pensionable service whichever is earlier.”
The union contended that the HOS could not claim to have been cowed by the cabal allegedly holding the government to ransom because given her exalted office, she should be able to stand by the truth and damn the consequence.
ASCSN claimed that by succumbing to the pressure exerted on her by those bent on rubbishing the integrity of President Buhari, she had joined the league of public servants who were incapable of protecting the cherished norms and values of the public service.
The union argued that the government was using the extension of tenure of Mrs. Shu’ara to test the ground, stressing that once it was allowed to hold, it would become the norm.