The recent appointment of new ministers and permanent secretaries, as well as the ongoing restructuring in the Federal Ministries, Department and Agencies of government, has thrown Directors and Assistance Directors into fear of being relieved of their jobs, as the new heads of the MDAs might require the services of new officers, who would align with the vision of the new administration.
Their tensions have apparently been heightened by the recent sack of about 17 Permanent Secretaries and subsequent appointment of another set to replace them as well as merging of some key ministries by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The new appointments of Ministers and Permanent Secretaries, since effected, have kept stakeholders in skepticism as to what becomes of the MDAs and the nation as a whole, following appointment of the new heads.
Nigeriancurrent has gathered from findings that, aside from the directors and their assistants, some employees have begun to seek alternative employments from the public and private sectors for fear of been sacked by the newly established leadership team of the MDAs.
Already, political sentiment is said to be taking the toll in some MDAs as those senior and junior workers who are identified with some level of involvement with opposition parties are said to be victimised by their new heads.
Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal, Secretary-General of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), who reacted to the development, raised an alarm over any such planned sack moves.
Lawal, however appealed to President Buhari not to send the directors packing as they were career civil servants, noting that the association had already observed speculations that thousands of Assistant Directors, Deputy Directors, and Directors in the Federal Ministries would be relieved of their duties just like Permanent Secretaries were recently sacked by the Government.
The ASCSN leader said, “Let government be reminded that the directorate cadre in the Ministries are career officers whose appointments are guided by the Public Service Rules (PSR),Federal Civil Service Commission’s Guidelines on Appointment, Promotion, and Discipline as well as the Scheme of Service and as such they are not political appointees like Permanent Secretaries that can be removed at will.
“Indeed, retirement in the Civil Service is governed by the Public Service Rules which stipulates 60 years of age or 35 years of service whichever comes first. Any attempt to remove them prematurely before the terminal end of their career is unlawful and the union will not accept it.
“This is not to say that anyone that is found wanting cannot be disciplined. But in doing that, however, due process must be followed” the union said.
He revealed the likely consequence of such move if made by the Federal government for whatever reason.
If such sack occurs, there will be dearth of competent and qualified officers in the Federal Civil Service if the serving personnel in the directorate cadre is weeded out of the service,” he said.
Lawal stressed the need for the Government to identify with experienced, educated, and highly skilled civil servants to carry out the lofty programmes it designed to bring fundamental change in the country, adding that the government cannot do this effectively if it desecrates the civil service by getting rid of seasoned public servants who have put in several years of service.
“Federal government should devise creative measures to revitalize the economy instead of resorting to retrenchment as solution to the temporary challenges facing the economy.
“We are a country that is governed by rules. Let us obey the rules to the letter and the entire country will be the better for it,” the union leader stated.
Meanwhile, luck is not on the side of the feared government employees who are cut up in the web of the ‘sack fever’ as a number of establishments in the private sector are not better off.
Already, setbacks and uncertainties are being experienced in the private sector in recent time, forcing a number of firms to relieve some employees of their jobs, following their inability to cope with overheads.
The situation is not unconnected with the stall in economic activities of the country, following the halt in some public activities as well as disbursement of funds, which resulted from the absence of ministers and permanent secretaries to take required decisions in the MDAs.
By Patrick Aigbokhan