Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia
Civil servants in Abia State who are due to retire but have secured extension duty have been ordered to leave service within one month or be shown the way out.
The order was contained in a statement issued by the office of the Head of Service (HoS) of the state, Onyii Wamah, in Umuahia.
It also directed directors of finance of ministries, agencies and establishments to discontinue payment to such workers, after the expiration of the ultimatum.
The government wondered why the affected staff refused to proceed on retirement, when there were capable hands to take over from them.
Investigation revealed that over 250 staff were still on ‘extended’ service as at June 2019, after attaining the 35 years in service or above the mandatory 60 years.
It was gathered that most of those on extension were senior staff, who were on grade levels 15 and above, at the time they reached their retirement age.
Another finding showed that while a few of them were still in core ministries, others were operating in parastatals, while the last set were in the local governments, where they “operate in cool environment.”
But some of the “overstayed staff” decided to hang on to service to be able to train their children in tertiary and secondary schools, as they “are not sure of gratuity or regular pensions, after retirement.”
A son to one of the affected staff who hails from Abia Central, feared that his father’s looming exit from civil service may spell doom for the family’s welfare, as according to him, payment of gratuity and pensions were not certain after retirement.
To this end, intense lobbying has commenced by other remaining staff, to hang on to service.
Meanwhile, some of the affected staff have bowed to government’s order and proceeded on retirement grudgingly. Some of the staff, who had proceeded on retirement, as recently confirmed by a source, were in the Ministry of Agriculture, Broadcasting Corporation of Abia (BCA), Ministry of Information, Ministry of Finance.
Others are from the Government House, Ministry of Transport, parastatals and local government system.
A senior staff at office of the Head of Service, Library Avenue, Umuahia, who pleaded anonymity, disclosed that his office has left no stone unturned towards fishing out ‘over staying workers’ in the state’s civil service.
He promised that the development would save enough money for Abia State and create fresh opportunities for young persons to be enrolled into the system.
He further promised that government had put up modalities to ensure that retired workers receive their pensions and gratuities, while assuring that the retiring staff would not regret their exit.