Kogi Ends Workers' Screening Exercise, Committee, Labour Union Appeals to Government to Temper Justice with Mercy.
The 32-man KOGI State civil service appeal screening committee has finally submitted her report to the governor of KOGI state, Alhaji Yahaya Bello on the 24th April, 2017, marking the end of the exercise.
Declaring the occasion opened, the Chief of Staff to the governor, Hon Edward Onoja thanked the committee for assiduously putting up their report within time and commended KOGI workers for their patients and understanding with the government. Edward stated that the screening exercise was a necessary surgical operation that will make the state well again after many years of suffering.
According to the chairman of the committee, Mr J.I Ayuba "all issues and complaints emanated from the previous screenings were carefully looked into and treated with fairness, justice and in accordance with the civil service rules".
Mr Ayuba said apart from those whose names appeared on uncleared list that led to the setting up of the appeal committee, others whose names were neither on uncleared or cleared lists also turned out for the exercise and few of such people were discovered to have genuine complains and were treated accordingly. According to him; Ten thousand, Eight hundred and fifty three staff from the Local Government areas had their names on the uncleared list but Eleven thousand, two hundred and twenty five staff appeared before the committee. From the LGEA, Ten thousand, five hundred and forty staff were initially on uncleared list while Twelve thousand, seven hundred twenty eight appeared before the screening committee.
He said his Committee at the end of the exercise found out that Nine thousand, eight hundred and ninety five staff whose names were not on the uncleared list from both state and LGAs appeared before the committee. Mr Ayuba said, some of the people in that category were disengaged civil servants in the past by previous screening exercises carried out by past administrations, he said some of them had no single record while some came to try their luck since the window was opened to everyone according to governor's instruction and acknowledged that Few of them had genuine cases and were treated.
Most of the cases treated by those on the uncleared list as well as those whose names were neither on the cleared and on the uncleared include; age discrepancy I.e those Whose age as it appeared on the birth certificate is different from the one on their result, age forgery; those who falsified their ages to remain in service, absent from duties, those who went on study leave without approval, those whose study leave approval expired but refused to apply for another one but did not return to work, diaspora workers, those who went for NYSC without approval, those who continue to draw full salary after retirement, double salary earners; some were earning salary from two different MDA at the same time, some from state and local government simultaneously, impersonation; those claiming the working position of dead relatives, under age and over age employees, those employed before they went to school, those employed with certificate courses, staff with cases of misdemeanor, staff in non permissible businesses-double loyalty, 2015/2016 employees, certificate forgery, and others.
The committee said all this issues were critically looked into and treated and appropriate recommendations were made. The committee recommended that those employed in 2015/2016 into critical services like doctors and others who produce essential services should be reconsidered for re-engagement
Study leave- The study leave cannot be more that two years initially. After expiration of the first approval, the employee can apply for extension but for those who went on study leave for period of 5-7-11 years without renewal should be disciplined according to civil service rule.
Absent from duty- the committee chairman said their findings furnished them with evidences that some people for just no reason abdicated their duties and also said that some in such situation presented gory pictures of accident which kept them out of work, some came with attendant register from their work places to prove their punctuality, those who presented such evidences were cleared while those who could not provide reasons for their absence were to face the law according to civil service rule.
Employee before qualification- some persons were employed without any qualification. They started earning salary immediately after their employment while in school, at the end of their study, they presented the result and their appointment normalized, the committee said there was nothing as normalization in the civil service system, those in such situation should be disciplined according to civil service rule. According to civil service rule, 020205 those employed before they went to school have their appointments void.
NYSC without permission- Staff who went on NYSC without permission have lost their jobs.
DISPARITY in date of birth- some staffers presented their documents with discrepancies in their date of births. Some presented birth certificate and declaration of age but both carried different date of birth. Those whose date of births on their primary school certificate did not tally with the one on the birth certificate or declaration of age have committed offense punishable under the civil service rule 030402W. But in a case where the irregularity was not on more than one document, such staffers were cleared because it may be due to typo error.
Impersonation- Those who on their own replaced their dead relatives and continue to enjoy the benefit of their dead relative were automatically dismissed.
Contract Staff- those in this category whose contract were not renewed but continue to work and draw benefit from the government have their engagements terminated.
Double salary earners-staffers found in this category face outright dismissal from both places they have drawn salary with appropriate punishment.
Employees with certificate courses- the only acceptable certificate in the civil service system in the diploma category were National Diploma and Higher National Diploma. He said the committee found out some people were employed with certificate courses at diploma level, noting that such certificates were not known to civil service therefore, those with such documents have their appointment terminated.
Age discrepancy- the committee advised the government to take a second look at that, where declaration of age became consistence.
Compulsory retirement- the committee said in accordance with the public service rule, With the exception of professorial cadre all other public civil servant above 60 years of age were due for retirement.
In his response, the chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress, KOGI State chapter, Comrade Onu Edoka While decrying the suffering of his members during the screening period expressed satisfaction and commended members of the committee. In his word, "Your Excellency, permit me to say that this screening exercise this time around has taken different dimension. Your Excellency, I am the most happiest person today that this screening has come to an end. This is the only area your government has attracted large public criticism and as this exercise has come to an end today, your government will enjoy more support from the people of KOGI state. You are doing well in security, road construction and other areas, but your Excellency, KOGI civil servants have suffered for long time in the course of this screening. I want to hear from you today that all those who have been cleared are immediately backed up by payments and for those who have little issues, I beg you to temper justice with mercy".
The commissioner for finance and head of the state's economic team Hon Idris Asiru who used the occasion to give the breakdown of income and expenditure of the state stated that outstanding March 2017 salary for tertiary institution of Four hundred and thirty four million naira have been sent to the bank this month despite the strike embarked upon by the unions of the institution. He said the union due from August to December 2016 and January-February 2017 of Two hundred and sixty two million naira has also be paid. Outstanding union due September -December 2016 and March 2017 totaling One point five billion were equally sent to the bank along the tertiary institutions salary this month.
In his remarks, the governor of KOGI state, Alh Yahaya Bello commended the members of the screening committee and praised KOGI workers for their resilience.
Reacting to the statement that state civil servants have not been paid for as many months as 14, the governor said; The government is going to publish the name of workers that have been paid since his administration, month by month, worker by worker for everybody to see, assuring the people of making the report available to them.
Governor Bello stated that KOGI was a state that cannot ascertain its asset and liability in the past due to absence of data, noting that the end of the screening exercise was a sign that major surgical operation has been successfully carried out on KOGI State. Reacting the plead of labor union, the governor indicated government's willingness to temper justice with mercy but however stated that those civil servants who are guilty of various fraud shall be punished. He said issues related to tertiary institutions shall be referred to the various governing council of the institutions.