The Presidency’s attempt to extend the tenure of Jamila Shu’ara, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, has been met with stiff resistance by the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN).
According to Punch Newspapers, Shu’ara was supposed to retire on February 17 when she attained the age of 60, however, a notice from the Head of Civil Service informed her that she would be retained in office for one year- a development which goes against the Public Service Rules number 100238.
The notice from the Head of Service dated February 24, 2016, was signed by Oyo-Ita Ekanem.
“This is to inform you that the His (sic) Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, in a letter with Ref. No. SGF. 12/S.11/C.1/T/2, has extended your retirement period by one (1) year with effect from February 17, 2016.”
“Your emoluments and other conditions of service will remain sustained up to February 16, 2017,” the notice stated.
ASCSN has kicked against the move, saying that in other to have industrial peace in the service, Shu’ara “should be eased out of the system unless those behind this extension have a hidden agenda somewhere.”
According to Alade Lawal, the Secretary-General of the union: “The so-called extension of retirement period of Mrs. Shu’ara for another year came to us as a big surprise. It is a rude shock and we least expected it.”
“The development is dangerous and it is highly condemnable. With the sort of respect we have for this administration, we least expect this level of impunity to be factored into public administration. Are we saying this woman is indispensable? The answer is no.”
A source in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation was reported to have said that it was the prerogative of the President to extend the service of any permanent secretary, “especially if they had an ongoing major national assignments before their retirement date”.
Leaders of the union and senior officials are said to be ready for a showdown with government over the issue.