Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has turned down the request for early retirement by the Head of Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, over the invitation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to answer to allegations bordering on contract scam to the tune of N3 billion, a duty tour allowance falsification and a fraud case.
Oyo-Ita has been absent from public functions in the past few days, most significantly at the just concluded two-day Presidential Retreat for ministers-designate, federal permanent secretaries and top government functionaries, at which she was listed as one of the resource persons.
She was, however, present on Wednesday at the swearing-in of ministers at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, after she first met with the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, in his office.
Oyo-Ita had confirmed to Daily Sun through a close aide that she had submitted her letter to proceed on retirement to President Buhari as requested by her family members and close associates.
Oyo-Ita has maintained that she has no N3 billion in her account.
She has also insisted that she does not have an aide with M600 million in his account, and that the N600 million in question, to her knowledge, is for the Death Benefits of deceased staff meant for a designated account.
The Presidency had on Monday said it was not in possession of any letter by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation indicating interest to go on retirement, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said in a text message in response to earlier reports that Oyo-Ita had formally informed President Buhari of her desire to proceed on retirement.
President Buhari on October 21, 2015, announced the appointment of Oyo-Ita as the Head of the Civil Service of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
She was appointed to the position of Federal Permanent Secretary on the 16th of March, 2013 and posted to the Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs as the pioneer Permanent Secretary of the re-established Ministry.
She was redeployed to the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology in April, 2014.
She was appointed as the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation in acting capacity in October 2015 and confirmed in January 2016 by President Buhari.
Oyo-Ita is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).
She was born in April 1964.