Sunday, December 30, 2007

EFCC Must Probe Perm Secs, Directors

The acid test awaiting the man taking over from Ribadu is to reassure Nigerians that with the exist of Nuhu Ribadu from EFCC that the critical assignment handed him to probe federal permanent secretaries and directors who are alleged to have falsified their age declarations to remain in service will not die a natural death.

Specifically, the police chief was handed the assignment by the Federal Government on Friday, November 23, 2007 at the Inaugural Meeting of the Steering Committee on Reforms (SCR) headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

At the meeting, Ribadu was given the mandate to work with the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) and the office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) to probe the allegation that some permanent secretaries and directors had falsified their age declarations to remain in office.

There has been growing concern in the federal bureaucracy that some permanent secretaries and officers in the directorate cadre have been implicated in age declaration scandal.

The development has led to petitions by some senior officers, who were either class or school mates of some suspected officers, revealing that the serving officers are older than they claim.
Claims are said to have portrayed some officers as having graduated at the age of 10 or 12.

Besides, some officers from certain states that have also petitioned the Presidency wonder how assistant directors from the same states are older than their permanent secretaries and directors even as they entered the same service in the same dispensation.

The President had noted the issue and adopted it to be probed by the Steering Committee on Reforms headed by the SGF whose office now supervises the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR).

It was revealed that it was Ribadu, who, at the meeting, insisted that falsification of age declaration is a criminal offence. He had pledged to provide forensic experts to unravel the succession crisis and aging workforce in the bureaucracy.

The Steering Committee Meeting had then "noted the gravity of the records falsification not only as criminal act but also as an integrity issue requiring serious action in line with the subsisting presidential directive on the matter and so directed the EFCC to assist in setting up a process of service-wide screening of public servants' records beginning with permanent secretaries and directors."

The fears is that the assignment might suffer some reverses, as Ribadu heads for Kuru in January where he will spend the next one year.

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