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Uncalm in education ministry over alleged appointment of retired officers as school principals

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Uncalm in education ministry over alleged appointment of retired officers as school principals

There are palpable disorder in the Federal Ministry of Education as not less than 22 Senior Officers of the Ministry who are Teachers by profession and who attained the age of mandatory retirement of 60 years since last year, were alledgedly included among the newly appointed Principals of Federal Unity Colleges comprising of Federal Government Colleges and Federal Government Girl’s Colleges across the Country.

ROYAL NEWS gathered that trouble started when some serving Principals were invited for CBT examination over 3 weeks ago in Abuja with a view of eliminating some of them; so as to consider some new GL.17 Officers for Principals’ appointments even though the serving Principals were not due for retirement.

According to competent sources, ‘this elimination and substitution process’ which is alien to civil service procedure, started with the examination and oral interview of selected Principals. The question being raised was how could the examinations be for selected Principals and not for all? Why examination when they are not to be promoted to higher status like Perm. Secs…etc.

This process was reliably kicked against by the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria who pointed out the flaws in the exercise in line with Civil Service Procedure but the Ministry refused to listen.

However, where the process ran into trouble was when the list of the new Principals was released, some serving Principals were eliminated from the list. This prompted investigations to be conducted which revealed among others that for more than one year, some Asst. Directors and Deputy Directors who have had their salaries stopped through IPPIS because they had attained the age of 60. The investigation revealed further that instead of the Ministry asking them to retire, it did not do so; but started a process that would make them to continue their service until they attained the age of 65 based on the elongation of tenure announced by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Condemnation has trailed the release of 112 names as new Principals, as 22 out of them were supposed to have retired because the law that permits elongation of service i.e. the Act 2022 on elongation signed by President Buhari puts 7th April, 2022 as the effective date of the commencement of the elongation.

Tongues started wagging as HR Experts and Public Administrators including those still in the Federal Public Service maintained that with that effective date as contained in the Act and further gazetted in the Federal Government Gazette, no officer that attained the age of 60 last year till March 2022 could benefit from the elongation as the Act has excluded them.

In the Public Service, it is well known that when Laws are enacted, effective date is crucial for proper implementation to avoid glaring errors such as the one alledgedly committed by the Federal Ministry of Education.

While ASUU strike persists, posting of supposedly retired civil servants along with the newly appointed Principals have been matter of total condemnation by serving officers of the Ministry across the Country accusing the Ministry of incompetence and inefficiency.

Sources placed the blame of this maladministration on a new Top Functionary of the Ministry who was alledgedly to be interested in certain senior officers to be posted as Principals to schools for pecuniary interests.

It is unlikely that 7th April, 2022 effective date for implementation of the Act on Elongation of Tenure would change as the National Assembly and the Presidency would never make any Law to take retrospective effect, as that was why the effect of the elongation was made on the date the President signed it into Law.

There were other agitations on the new Principals appointment as it was not based on federal character principles known to civil service procedures. There was also the religious discrimination and bias evidenced by the fact that out of 112 new Principals appointed, only 23 are muslims – situation they described as highly condemnable!

Reports confirmed that the new Permanent Secretary in the Ministry was alledgedly implementing christian agenda that was hitherto not the practice in the Ministry.

In addition, it was reported that a School Principal in a South-West State who was sent on compulsory leave as a serious disciplinary procedure and who fell into the category of retired Principals (Mrs Ajisafe Ann Aigbala of FGGC Oyo) was hurriedly recalled and posted to FGC Ilorin.

Reports say that the Principal of FGC Ilorin Mrs Hafsat Adebayo who has been described as highly responsible, dutiful, committed and dedicated officer to her job, was being frustrated out of the School even as she enjoys the confidence and affection of all irrespective religion or ethnicity.They wondered what would become the future of that School if such a Principal is transferred and the new one with alledged blemish records takes over.

The FG has been called-upon to urgently look into the affairs of both Secondary and Tertiary Education in Nigeria in the face of the current trend.

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