By Favour Nnabugwu

Stakeholders have attributed the non-re-instatement of three female permanent secretaries whose postings were put on hold without valid reasons for three years now, to scheming by interested parties in the civil service and called on the Presidency to re-absorb them without further delay.

•Mrs.Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita

Vanguard investigations revealed that the stakeholders, who met secretly over the issue, early this week, also called on the Federal Government to summon a former Head of Civil Service of the Federation for more explanations over the circumstances that surrounded the scandal.

A top official at the Head of Service said the stakeholders stated unequivocally that “the case of the three female Perm Secretaries is more political than administrative.

According to sources, they said the permanent secretaries were victims of high political scheming aimed at showing them out of the way.

Worse still, the stakeholders continued, “why were they removed while still under investigations?  There are cases of other permanent secretaries who were under investigation yet they were simply re-assigned to the office of the Head of Service pending the conclusion of investigations of their cases.”

This scenario, smirks of bad blood and the big questions are: who is after them and any hidden agenda?”

Vanguard source said they concluded that the situation was quite dicey and contradicts the change mantra of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration that thrives on the rule law, adding that due to the sensitivity of their issue, any government employee that comments or speaks on the issue is immediately sacked or retired.

Trouble started at the office of the Civil Service of the Federation after the removal of their head in 2015. Soon after, the Federal government embarked on restructuring of permanent secretaries and it led to the retirement of 17 permanent secretaries while 18 new ones were appointed, 16 from serving directors, two from private sector, leading to total of 35 permanent secretaries.

During the process, three permanent secretaries: Mrs. Fatima Bamidele (Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs), Mrs. Nkechi Ejele (Ministry of Culture and National Orientation) and Mrs. Ibukun Odusote (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) were not deployed on the grounds that they were under investigation.

The permanent secretaries later got a reprieve after they were exonerated from the offences alleged against them.

They were also not assigned any duties since then while they have continued to receive their salaries from the federal government consolidated account since 2015.

The story, however, took a new dimension after the head of Service, Oyo –Ita wrote two contradictory letters over their case.  In one of the letters dated February 16, 2017 addressed to president Buhari, the head of service  informed the President that the allegations against Bamidele, Ejele and Odusote were baseless, saying no prima facie case had been established against them.

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