Concerned workers in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) have alerted Nigerians on alleged breach of administrative guidelines in civil service regarding appointment, promotion and discipline in the commission.
They said whereas all government agencies are bound to abide by the general civil service rules on appointments, promotions and discipline, the NDDC under the Interim Management Committee (IMC), has ignored these.
The NDDC staff said the IMC had painted a picture that senior officials in the commission recently sent on compulsory leave were affected because they could compromise the proposed forensic audit, the main reason is to cover up the malfeasance in NDDC.
It said in sending the officials away, the IMC acted in breach as “Public Service Rule (PSR) No 020810 provides for the retirement of a civil servant who has attained the age of 60 years or 35 years in service, but the IMC directed civil servants who still have two more years or less to stay in service to proceed on compulsory retirement.”
According to them, the IMC first gave the impression that it only asked the affected staff to go on paid-leave for the duration of the forensic-audit, only to turn round to say “some of those asked to go have been indicted by the EFCC.”
They queried: “How can someone indicted for so long, a civil servant, still be in office? Even if that were so, under Rule 030301 of Section 3 of PSR which deals with misconduct, an officer must be informed in writing of the specific act of wrong doing or the improper behaviour inimical to the image of the organisation charged against him which must be investigated and proved before any disciplinary action can be taken against him. In this case, we do not even know those indicted, let alone whether there have been queries issued to anyone preparatory to action taken.”
They alleged arbitrary promotion of staff at the NDDC, “with letters distributed to staff between April and early May 2020, without formal tests or interviews as have been the practice.”
The workers said while the Civil Service Rules/Guidelines provides that staff on Grade Levels 8 – 14 must spend three years on a position before promotion and those on Levels 15 – 17 four years, “this rule has been thrashed by the interim management who even gave their favoured staff who have not spent the prescribed number of years double promotion, all without interview or test.”
They said there are two classes of staff in NDDC – those who are favoured “because they have been recruited for personal agenda and the rest of us who dutifully follow our jobs without eye service.”
They faulted the set up, where the Minister of Niger Delta, who supervises NDDC, is Chairman of the Presidential Monitoring Committee and a member of the Advisory Committee.
“So, in all, when the Presidential Monitoring Committee gives the IMC a clean bill, like they did during the advertised visit to the Commission, it is like Akpabio giving himself a pass mark after directing all the actions of the Commission. This is why we welcome wholeheartedly the National Assembly committees that have been asked to investigate the sharp practices in the NDDC as part of their oversight functions,” they declared.