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INVESTIGATION: Irregularities cloak inter-cadre transfers policy of Delta civil service

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COVID-19: Delta Gov. Okowa leaves daughter’s N400m budget untouched, trims other offices’ allocation
Delta State governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa

By Iteveh Ekpokpobe

Civil Servants within the level eight (8) to twelve (12) cadre under the Delta State Civil Service who are due and wish for transfer to Officer Cadre, are no longer finding it easy or funny with the uncertainty surrounding the process.

The dynamics surrounding the policy covering the process has made it so.

Investigation has revealed that there seems to be a standing duel between the Delta State head of service, Dr. Reginald Bayoko and the chairman, Delta State Civil Service Commission, Chief Nkem Okwuofu over the matter.

Delta State Head of Service, Dr. Reginald Bayoko

A new circular with Ref: HOS/PM/28/80/T2/143 dated August, 6, 2020 issued by the HOS, Bayoko discards the existing status quo, an action which many civil servants and the State Civil Service Commission have adjudged as improper.

The crux of the face-off is that the new arrangement sought by the current Head of Service, Bayoko, lifts the bar for transfers against the existing operational order of civil service in the state as designed in 2013 by former head of service, Mr Okey Ofili.

Also alarming, is the fact that the new policy is backdated to take effect, from the date of the old policy, a move described as an anomaly by the State Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Goodluck Ofobruku.

According to the design of the old and contended policy, conversions to officer cadre are only allowed for workers within level eight (8) to twelve (12) cadre. The expectation of this conversion is that such officers retain their salary structure but are demoted by two levels.

In essence a worker who converts at level 12 retains salary structure but is demoted to level 10 as an officer.

Chairman, Delta State Civil Service Commission, Chief Nkem Okwuofu

The former HOS, Mr. Okey Ofili, in Circular: HOS.4/1/1/128 issued on 11, December 2013 designed the template for cadre transfers which ushered peace into the system.

Part of that circular read, “In addition to the extant rules for processing applications for inter cadre/ service transfers to officer cadres on salary grade levels 08 to 12 only, all other officers seeking such transfers will henceforth be required to take an aptitude test to be conducted by the administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) Topo, Badagry to be held once in a year.

“Inter Cadre/ Service transfers by this arrangement shall no longer be applicable to posts above salary grade level 12. The first series of the aptitude test will be conducted in 2104 and will thereafter be a yearly exercise,” it stated.

However, the new arrangement posits that any level grade within eight (8) and above are due for conversion, but while they retain their salary structure, are demoted by one level.

 

Civil Servants Lament

Mr. Ugo (not real name) a senior civil servant, explains that the arrangement disorganizes the seniority structure of the service as recent converts may now become senior to early converts.

His claim is not farfetched. An appeal states that the new policy has given room for Rife gross supersession and that in the service; junior officers are becoming seniors to their bosses overnight.

One of the appeals narrates, “My junior colleagues in the education assistant cadre who obtained their degrees and applied for inter-cadre transfer as chief assistant education officer, SGL 14 and Principal Assistant SGL 13 respectively were granted approval for inter care transfer on 11th June 2018 to SGL 12 in the education Officer Cadre with effect from 21st August, 2017. The affected officers are above Salary Grade level 12, which makes the said inter- cadre transfer not in line with extant rules in service.”

“Guided by the circular letter stated in paragraph one above upon my degree in 2009, I applied for inter cadre transfer into the education officer cadre. I was on SGL 12 in the education Assistant (less than six months to SGL 13) when my Inter-Cadre was approved on 9th February, 206 and stepped down to SGL 10 in the education officer cadre.”

“However, in total disregard for the circular letter mentioned in paragraph one, my junior colleagues still in the education assistant cadre rose to SGL 13 more than two years of my transfer from SGL 13 (Education Assistant Cadre) and stepped down to SGL 12 (Education Officer Cadre) made them my seniors and bosses in service. This is a case of gross supersession.”

 

You Can’t Make Laws To Take Retroactive Effect – NLC Boss, Ofoburuku

Reacting to the Development in Asaba, the Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Goodluck Ofobruku, stressed that it was an aberration to make laws, take effect in retrospect adding that it went against all legal precedence and procedures.

Ofobruku disclosed that the Union was well aware of the matter and would take it up with the necessary organs of government.

His words, “No law is made to have retroactive effect. We are taking it up with the necessary organs of government. We don’t fight media wars. Our position is to make them see reasons. If government should take action, it should not be made to have retroactive effect.”

The Labour boss said it was against civil service rules for one on transfer to supersede in rank, those he met in a different cadre. “The policy has always been there in Civil Service. One cannot transfer and still be senior to those he met in another cadre.”

 

Civil Service Commission Disapproves New Policy

The Delta State Civil Service Commission under Chief Nkem Okwuofu, holds the same view. Earlier in a circular with Ref: S.103/Vol. 1/82 signed by Ovwurhughen Victor and issued on August 4, 2020 for the Chairman CSC, the Commission had withdrawn its approval.

The commission stressed that it was standing by its earlier decision to nullify and withdraw the approval of the Inter-Cadre Transfer.

“It is pertinent to state that commission’s decision was based on the several petitions/ appeals by affected officers on the need to correct the issue of supersession of erstwhile junior colleagues, whose’ Inter-Cadre Transfers contravened the subsisting circular No.HOS 4/1/1/128 of 11 December, 2013 which remains functional before its amendment of 8th May, 2020.”

“Besides, the issue of supersession arose as officers on post above SGL. 12 not eligible were transferred and their assumption of duty back-dated against extant rules.”

“Accordingly, the commission stands by its earlier decision to nullify and with draw the approval of Inter-Cadre Transfers to the officers’ cadre not in tandem with the operational Circular No.4/1/1/128 of 11th December, 2013 as at that time, which was amended via Circular No. HOS/PM/28/80/T2/139 of 8th May, 2020, (states that officers on post above SGL.12 are entitled to Inter-Cadre Transfer, as long as the transfers do not exceed SGL. 12).”

“However, this new position cannot be applied retrospectively. Therefore, approvals conveyed by Commission’s Letters Nos. PC 2583/89 of 29th November, 2017, S.103/23/T/156 of 11th June, 2018 as well as other approved Inter-Cadre Transfers in 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively are hereby nullified and so withdrawn.”

 

There Is No Conflict – Head Of Service

The Head of Service, Mr. Reginald Bayoko has stated that there was no conflict between the Civil Service Commission and the Cabinet Office.

The Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office, Mr. Cletus Obiegba, who spoke on his behalf, said should there be conflict, service had its internal mechanisms of addressing them.

 

NOTE: All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be published or cited without the express permission of the Author.

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