Alhaji Yahaya Bello
Executive Governor, Kogi State
Background to the Staff Screening Appeal Committee
To achieve the Public Service and Pension Reform goal which is one of the thematic areas of the new direction agenda of his administration, His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello on the 22nd of February 2016 set up a 29-Man Staff Verification and Screening Committee to among others, ascertain the true figure of the workforce of the State, Local Government Area, Local Government Education Authorities and Pensioners; and also make recommendations that will reposition the Public Service and Pension Administration in Kogi State.
Consequent upon the issues arising out of the report of the Staff Verification and Screening Committee, a 23-Man Staff Screening Review and Complaints Committee was set up to look into the various complaints and issues arising therefrom. That Committee submitted its own report on the 23rd of December, 2016.
In keeping with the ideals of fairness, justice and transparency, His Excellency further on the 26th day of January, 2017 inaugurated a 37-Man Staff Complaint Appeal Committee to attend to Public Servants who wish to Appeal the decision of the Screening Review and Complaints Committee.
SUMMARY OF THE PUBLIC SERVANTS THAT APPEARED BEFORE
THE APPEAL COMMITTEE
Following the window opened by His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, The
Executive Governor, Kogi State, many Public Servants presented themselves
before the appeal committee to represent their case while some stayed away
knowing fully well that they do not have any defence against the issues raised
Find below the summary;
It is important to note that a total of 3, 441 public servants did not appear before the appeal committee, while a total of 39, 144 public servants presented themselves before the appeal committee.
On a related note, a total of 9,832 Public Servants who were not on the unclear list presented themselves for screening. Our review of the documents presented by most of these people revealed that they have been disengaged in the past by various screening exercise and they confessed that they only came to try their luck before the appeal committee.
FINDINGS OF APPEAL COMMITTEE
The appeal Committee reconfirmed the findings and observations of the staff review committee as highlighted below;
- Absence from duty by proceeding on study before Confirmation of Appointment
- Absence from work for Study (Full Time) without approval
- Absence from work for study (Part Time) without approval, with a view to subsequently use academic certificate obtained for future career advancement
- Absence from work to participate in one year NYSC programme without approval
- Abuse of office resulting in undeserved financial benefits at the detriment of government
- Alteration of date of birth (DOB) on birth certificate or statutory declaration of age (SDA) or First School Leaving Certificate
- Certificate fraudulently obtained as staff cannot defend such certificates
- Cloning of Statutory Declaration of Age (SDA). This is when there are different date of birth (DOB) for a statutory decaration of age dated the same date with same treasury receipt number. This is done to provide cover up for alteration of Date of Birth (DOB) or other age manipulation
- Collecting full salary after the due date of retirement
- Contract staff on the payroll with or without specific tenure
- Diaspora workers (Cheating the government by earning salary without working as evidence by consistent cash withdrawals in location outside the state or outside the staff primary place of assignment)
- Disparity in date of birth between records (e.g between statutory declaration of age and First School Leaving Certificate or West Africa Examination Council or Annual Performance Evaluation Report or Notification of Promotion)
- Double salary
- Employed and being paid salary while in the school or employed while on NYSC
- Employed and promoted with ‘Certificate Course’, OD or HD (Non Accredited certificates). These certificates are only required for proficiency and not for career progression
- Employed between January 1, 2015 to January 27, 2016
- Employed by MDA/LGA/LGEA on GL07/1 above in breach of their statutory limit on appointment and promotion.
- Employment or Secondment of trained Teacher to MDAs where their experience is being under utilised (Staff name to be transferred to REGISTER OF CLEARED LIST, however to be redeployed to class room)
- Extension of study leave without approval
- Fake or Forged academic certificate
- FSLC (Primary School certificate) fraudulently obtained to cover up for age manipulation
- Holding more than one full time paid job
- Huge and unexplained cash inflow or divided loyalty
- Improper career advancement and promotion
- Involvement in non permissible business for a Public Servant or divided loyalty
- Lack of requisite academic qualification(s) upon which staff employment and promotion (s) was premised
- Multiple Statutory Declaration of Age (SDA) with different dates of birth (DOB)
- No evidence of earning salary (i.e no employment history) in the bank account statement provided by the staff for the period January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2015 in breach of the screening guideline
- No Minimum Qualification for Teaching (i.e. Teacher without minimum of NCE)
- Non-indigenes given permanent/pensionable employment
- Pensioner employed on Pensionable Appointment or Staff employed when above 50 years of age
- Permanent Secretaries & Directors who have occupied the position for a minimum of 8 years
- Staff employed and placed on grade level above his/her qualification
- Staff employed and remained on the same grade since date of appointment to-date, meanwhile staff academic/profesional qualification and scheme of service provided for carrear advancement
- Staff has attained the mandatory age of 60 years or has served for mandatory period of 35 years
- Staff has instituted a case against the State Government in Industrial Abritration Court or National Industrial Court
- Staff has reached the limit of his/her cadre & academic/professional qualifications and has stagnated on same grade for more than 8 years
- Staff has record of misdemeanours e.g. truancy, lateness, rudeness, several queries, rape, stealing etc
- Staff physically old or adjudged older than 60 years
- Staff with visible disability or health challenge which may adversely affect the discharge of staff duty
- Statement of result submitted during employment or to earn promotion is stale (i.e has been issued more than five years) and no longer valid to remain in employment in line with Head of service circular with reference number KG/EST/CIR/8/VOL.III/918 of April 23, 2013
- 43Under Employment (Staff employed on lower grade when already having higher qualification and ‘normalized’ resulting in promotion before or at confirmation)
- 44Underage Employment (i.e. Employed as a minor). Minimum age for employment to be categorised as follows: up to 20/03/1979 is 16 years; between 21/03/1979 to 24/08/2009 is 15 years and from 25/08/2009 to-date is 18 years.
SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE APPEAL COMMITTEE
The Appeal Committee adopted most of the recommendations of the Review Committee with modification in the areas below;
a) Falsification of age
i) Alteration of Date of Birth (DOB)
On alteration of Date of Birth (DOB) on Birth Certificate, Statutory Declaration of Age [SDA], First School Leaving Certificate [FSLC], APER Form, Record of Service e.t.c., it is the Committee’s view that the mere fact of altering documents of any type is an act of falsification of records which amounts to serious misconduct by virtue of the PSR 030401 [a]. By this act therefore, all staff who are found to have altered any documents are to be disciplined in accordance with the provisions of PSR030302 to 030306.
ii) Discrepancies in Date of Birth
Relevant sections of Civil Service Guidelines and extant Circulars provide that a staff’s declared age at entry into service must be adhered to throughout his service years. Specifically, the PSR 020108 (ii) provides that ‘Date of birth recorded on appointment by an officer shall not be changed throughout the career of the Officer. Any contravention shall be regarded as an act of serious misconduct’. For a staff therefore to have disparity in his date of birth in our opinion, amounts to serious misconduct. Similarly, other infractions, like presentation of multiple Declaration of Age, First School Leaving Certificate, Birth Certificate, falls under the category and should attract the same punishment as stated in i above.
Both issues under i and ii above constitutes an offence of forgery under Sections 362, 363, 366 and 368 of the Penal Code Act.
Regardless of the foregoing, the Committee came across cases of staff whose date of birth in all staff record (Declaration of Age or Birth Certificate, APER Form, Promotion Letters, Record of Service, Application for employment) are consistent with the exception of the date of birth on First School Leaving Certificate WAEC/SSCE or on notification of promotion.
The Appeal Committee recommends that Government should take a second look at staff with cases highlighted above.
b) Forged or fake academic certificates
The act of procuring and presentation of forged documents amounts to the offence of forgery under Sections 362, 363, 366 and 368 of the Penal Code Act. The commission of a crime by a public servant is by virtue of the PSR 030402 (w) an act unbecoming of a public officer which amounts to serious misconduct.
All staff who are found to have forged any document are to be disciplined in accordance with the provisions of PSR 030402 (w) and PSR030302 to 030306 respectively.
c) Absence from work on study (Full time) without study leave approval
The Committee recommends that those who presented genuine letters and have sufficiently exculpated themselves of the charge should be appropriately cleared. Those who were not able to tender valid documents to exculpate themselves are by that fact guilty of absenting themselves from work without approval for the period which they were away and should therefore, be subjected to the relevant PSR in that regard.
d) Absence from work without leave (Diaspora Workers)
According to PSR 030402(e) absence from duty without leave is serious misconduct which when proved is punishable with dismissal.
Staff who proved through satisfactory and cogent evidence that he/she was indeed, at his/her duty post was cleared.
Some public servants who came under this head tried to absolve themselves of the charge by claiming that they were sick and were admitted to hospitals or herbal homes outside their respective places of primary assignment hence their persistent withdrawals in those places. While the Committee empathized with these class of Civil Servants, they were unable to present medical reports documenting their ailments or records from the hospitals where they claimed to have been admitted. Secondly, majority of these officers failed to formally inform their offices of their ailments and were therefore adjudged to be away on sick leave without approval.
The Committee hereby recommends that those Staff who have been adjudged to be away from duty without official leave be disciplined in accordance with the provisions of PSR 030402(e).
e) Staff employed while in school or while on NYSC
It is obvious that the Staff could not have been at their duty posts while at the same time attending their lectures. This category of Staff have therefore in the Committee’s opinion absented themselves from work without leave and are to be so treated. The second category were simply not eligible for employment as they did not possess the requisite qualification. Their employment is therefore null and void by virtue of PSR 020205(b).
f) Underage employment (Employment of minor)
The PSR applicable in 1978 puts the minimum eligibility age for entry into the public service at 16 years.
A community reading of Sections of the Labour Act 1971 show that the minimum eligibility age for employment into public service is 16 years.
The Federal Ministry of Establishments Circular No. 2/1979 of 20th March 1979 reviewed the minimum eligibility age for appointment into the Public Service to 15 years.
The year 2000 edition of the PSR (02205(a)) puts the minimum eligibility age for appointment into the Public Service at 15 Years and not more than 50 Years.
The 2008 edition of the PSR (02205(a)) puts the minimum eligibility age for appointment into the Public Service at 18 Years and not more than 50 Years.
The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) made no provision for the minimum eligibility age for entry into the public service or for employment generally.
In view of the above findings, the Committee recommends that cases of officers adjudged as underage when employed should be reviewed in accordance with applicable/operational provisions of the PSR as at the time of employment.
g) Staff employed in 2015 and 2016
The Appeal Committee is of the view that Government circular Ref. HCS/KGS/CIR/3/V/516 dated 4/2/2016 has already suspended 2015/2016 employment until further notice. The Committee therefore abides by the
circular. The Committee however recommends that Government takes a second look at these employments especially for areas of genuine needs.
h) Stale statement of result
This category includes;
i) Staff whose only qualifications are stale.
ii) Staff with stale highest qualifications which form the basis of their current grade level but who possess other lower Certificates.
iii) Staff who possess Certificates for their highest qualifications but whose lower qualifications upon which they obtained those Certificates are stale.
iv) Staff with attestation letter in lieu of their stale lower and/or highest qualification.
Staff whose statement of result are stale regardless of the categories above and have consistently failed to submit a Certificate in lieu of their stale statements of result should be relieved of their appointments for not having the requisite qualification for employment.
i) Staff above 60 years of age still in the service
For staff in tertiary institutions;
i) The Professorial Cadre are to retire at 70 Years of Age
ii) The Academic and Non Academic Staff of Universities are to retire at 65 years of age.
iii) Academic Staff of Polytechnic and Colleges of Education are to retire at the age of 65 years.
iv) Non Academic Staff of Polytechnics and Colleges of Education are to retire at 60 years of age.
v) That Non Academic Staff of Polytechnics and Colleges of Education are not bound by the mandatory retirement service of 35 years.
The Appeal Committee recommends that with the exception of workers identified in i to iii above, all other Public Servants who are above 60 years of age or have served beyond 35 years (save for Non Academic staff of tertiary institutions) are to be retired.
As at today (April 24, 2017), the Appeal Committee has completed processing of the report of MDAs and LGAs, the summary of the outcome of the appeal exercise is as presented below;
We want to use this medium to express our profound appreciation to His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, The Executive Governor, Kogi State for the privilege given to us to be of service to the State, without your relentless support, this exercise would not have been successful.
On behalf of all the members of the Committee we say a very Big Thank you to your Excellency and members of your cabinet.
Mr J.Y. AYUBA
Staff Screening Appeal Committee