- Jamila Shu’ara, the permanent secretary in the federal ministry of petroleum resources, was due to retire on February 17 after reaching the age of 60.
- The presidency decided to extend her tenure till February 16, 2017
- The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria opposed the extension of the tenure
There is tension in the federal ministry of petroleum resources following the government’s decision to extend the tenure of the permanent secretary, Jamila Shu’ara.
According to the Public Service Rules number 100238, Shu’ara retired on February 17 after reaching the age of 60. However, the government insisted that she would still be in office for another year.
The Punch reports that on February 15 Shu’ara wrote a letter of retirement addressed to Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita, the acting head of Civil Service of the Federation. She commended the federal government and President Muhammadu Buhari for “the opportunity of a rich employment”.
“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,” she wrote.
But in a letter entitled “Extension of retirement period” Shu’ara was told that her emoluments and other conditions of service would be sustained till February 16, 2017.
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A copy of the letter, dated February 24, 2016 and signed by Oyo-Ita, was obtained by The Punch from the presidency on Wednesday, March 3, in Abuja.
“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,” the letter stated.
“Your emoluments and other conditions of service will remain sustained up to February 16, 2017.”
The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), which is an affiliate of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, opposed the extension of the tenure of the permanent secretary.
Members of the association even alleged that “those behind this extension have a hidden agenda somewhere”.
Speaking with journalists, Alade Lawal, the secretary-general of the ASCSN, said:
“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.”
Sources familiar with the development hinted that the leadership of the unions and senior officers in the ministry were ready for a showdown with the government over what they described as “a time bomb”.
Meanwhile, a source in the office of the secretary to the government of the federation noted that it was the president’s prerogative to extend the tenure of any permanent secretary.
Jamila Shu’ara was appointed as the permanent secretary in the federal ministry of petroleum resources on November 10, 2015. The total number of new appointees was 54, which included 18 in the Federal Civil Service.