The extension of the tenure of the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Jamila Shu’ara, by the presidency is now generating disquiet at the seat of power, according to a report by The Nation newspaperThe Nation can now reveal.
Top civil servants and labour unions have kicked against the “strange extension” which is in violation of the civil service rules.
The affected Permanent Secretary turned 60 years on February 17 and duly served notice of her retirement. However, a February 24 letter from the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita, extended her service by a year,courtesy President Muhammadu Buhari.
In the letter, HCSF/351/S.1/76, Oyo-Ita said: “This is to inform you that His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, in a letter with reference N0. SGF 12/S.11/C.1/T/2, has extended your retirement period by one (1) year with effect from February 17.
“Your emoluments and other conditions of service will remain sustained up to February 16, 2017.”
Findings, however, confirmed that the extension was a “violation of the Public Service Rule Number 020810.”
The rule says: “(i) The compulsory retirement age for all grades in the service shall be 60 years or 35 years of pensionable service whichever is earlier.
“(ii) 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.
“(iii) The provision of (i) and (ii) of the rule is without prejudice to prevailing requirements for judicial officers and Academic Staff of Universities who retire at 70 and 65 years respectively.
“(iv) Provided the officer would not have attained the retirement age of 60 years or spent 35 years of pensionable service whichever is earlier;
(a) “a Director shall compulsorily retire upon serving eight years on the post and (b) a Permanent Secretary shall hold office for a term of four years and renewable for a further term of four years, subject to satisfactory performance and no more.”
A top source said “some forces” manipulated the system deliberately to create distortion.
“This tenure extension has caused disquiet in the presidency because it is not backed by any law. It will also set a bad precedent,” the source said.
“Most permanent secretaries and directors were shocked by the decision of the Federal Government as if the nation is returning to the era of super permanent secretaries.
“I think the President was wrongly advised because he is a man of integrity. Over 17 federal permanent secretaries were flushed out of service a few months ago by this same government with some of them still having up to three years to date of their retirement.
“Shu’ara was supposed to be one of them but the President, out of what we thought was mere magnanimity, allowed her to serve out her three remaining months in service.”
In her February 15 notice of retirement Dr. Shu’ara had said: “I write most respectfully to forward to you, my notice of retirement from the Federal Civil Service with effect from February 17 when I shall attain the mandatory age of 60 years, in line with Public Service Rule 100238.
“I was employed into the public service May, 1982 as a Lecturer Grade III and rose through the ranks to the position of a Chief Lecturer, and also served as a Head of Department, a Dean of a School, a Deputy Provost and the Provost of a Federal College of Education. Thereafter, I transferred into the Federal Civil Service as an Assistant Director, Education in 1999, and moved up the ladder to a Deputy Director and later a Director in 2008.
“I was appointed the Federal Permanent Secretary on the 20th of December 2012, and was deployed to several duty posts including; the Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation – Special Duties Office; Ministry of Aviation; Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Federal Ministry of Special Duties & Intergovernmental Affairs and finally back to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
“I thank the Federal Government of Nigeria, especially His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari for giving me the opportunity of a rich employment and founding me worthy to serve in different capacities. I also thank you ma, for giving me support and encouragement as the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
“I wish to confirm that I am not in any way indebted to the Federal Government of Nigeria as evidenced in the non-indebtedness form duly endorsed by the Federal Housing Loans Board.
“Please accept the assurances of my high regards and consideration.”