PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has taken his fight against corruption and sloth to the civil service insisting that anyone assuming a traditional title while still serving was in breach of Nigeria’s Public Service Rule and may be forced to retire. Under Nigeria’s civil service guidelines, civil servants are not allowed to assume traditional titles such as Chief, Otunba, Alhaji, Asiwaju, Mazi, Obong, Dim, etc while still serving. However, in strict violation of the regulations, many civil servants do and under impending civil service reforms, President Buhari is looking to retire all those who have breached the rule. Apparently, only those whose titles were traditionally inherited may be spared but their postings and conduct will be put under watch. According to sources, the government is disturbed that most of the top civil servants with honorary awards actually bought them at high fees. Besides committing the resources of ministries, departments and agencies to such awards and titles, most of the civil servants used the window to grant favour to groups, persons, and communities in violation of their oath of office. Even if given such titles, they are not supposed to accept them until they have retired from office. One government source said: “A mass shake-up is imminent in the civil service and some corrupt elements at the top and chief executives of parastatals may be removed or retired. Instead of facing their duties, what we have been experiencing is that some permanent secretaries, directors, chief executives of parastatals and top civil servants have been indulging in a rat-race for honorary awards and chieftaincy titles. “They have used such awards to influence employment, promotion and even the sites of projects. Such officials have no business in government again.” As far back as 1998, Nigeria banned civil servants from receiving awards and titles. Under the guidelines, where a civil servant must hold a traditional title bestowed on him/her by inheritance or receive any award, due clearance must be obtained from the secretary to the government of the federation through the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
Buhari gets tough with civil servants as he plans to retire all those with titles and awards