Mass retrenchment: Niger Civil Service Commission absolves self

The Niger State Civil Service Commission (CSC) has washed its hands off the recent mass retrenchment/sack of about 726 civil servants in the state civil service.

It added that the list being circulated on social media said to have originated from the commission was unclear and frowned at the authorities who gave the approval for the downsizing list.

Members of the commission who appeared before the Niger State House of Assembly Ad-hoc Committee on salary irregularities in the state stated that they also sighted the list of dismissed staff on social media just like others.

Speaking on behalf of other members of the commission, Mohammed Adams Erena noted that up till the last minute they were in the office, no issue of staff dismissal was brought to their notice.

He explained that matters of such magnitude were not handled by an individual but the commission, which comprises all the five members including the chairman, and pointed out   that the commission has never sat on the dismissal of any civil servant.

He said that the only staff dismissed were seven out of the 83 recommended by Panti Salary Management Committee whose cases were treated within the purview of due process.

He said it was an aberration of the civil rules and privileges of civil servants for anyone to sit somewhere and develop a list of state government employees and dismiss them without going through the civil service commission.

According to him, “Up till the time we left office, to the last minute that our tenure expired, we have not sat as a commission to treat any matter such as the mass retrenchment of civil servants and we have not directed the permanent secretary to do anything that came close to that.”

Speaking further on the matter, he said, “The civil service commission by law is empowered to employ, promote, discipline including dismissing civil servants and no authority has the power to do that except the commission and we didn’t do that to the best of my knowledge.”

He informed members of the legislative committee that their tenure as commission members had expired on July 27 and the purported list of those dismissed was issued on July 30..

He said the civil service was an organised institution with laid down rules and regulations, pointing out that he will be right to say due process was not followed in the case of the affected officers.

The chairman of the ad-hoc committee and member representing Bosso Constituency, Malik Madaki Bosso, said it will be an abuse of power to sack civil servants without following laid down rules and regulations.

He disclosed that the permanent secretary of the commission confessed that during her appearance before the committee that the order for the sack of the affected officers was an executive order from above.

He opined that there should be nothing like executive order on matters that were clearly spelt out by laws and regulations, pointing out that if this act was allowed, then impunity will reign, lamenting that “somebody will just wake up one day and just sack the entire civil servants of the state as if we are in a military era.”

He said his committee has taken note of the submissions and will report to the house when it concluded its assignment.

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