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Title-crazy civil servants to go

Title-crazy civil servants are scared of being sacked, The Nation learnt at the weekend.
Officials, who violated the Public Service Rule banning titles until after retirement, may be retired in the coming civil service reforms.
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.
The affected civil servants violated the rules which grants them the right to such honors only after retirement.
Besides committing the resources of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAS) to such awards, most of the civil servants used the window to “grant favour to groups, persons, and communities in violation of their oath of office.”

A highly-placed source said: “mass shake-up is imminent in the civil service. 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.”
The government made refrence to two subsisting circulars, banning such indulgence by civil servants.
They include: April 6, 1998 circular Ref. No. 58358/S.5/C.1/32 and HCSF /062/S. I/ V/1/7 of 20th June 2013.
The 1998 circular, signed by a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Gidado Idris, said: “The government has observed with concern that the time honoured practice of honouring deserving persons with honourary degrees, diplomas, fellowships, etc. is being abused.
“The situation has deteriorated to the extent that laid down procedures for bestowing such honours are no longer observed. In some cases, the intentions for giving the award appear less than noble. It is hardly surprising that these awards no longer command much respect.
“Accordingly, serving public officers are hereby banned from accepting honorary degrees, fellowships, etc. from local or foreign universities, polytechnics and other higher institutions. This, of course, does not apply to fellowships and memberships awarded by accredited professionals bodies to their bonafide members. This circular takes immediate effect.”
 The 2013 circular was issued by a former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Bukar Goni Aji.
It said: “It has come to the attention of the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation that some Civil Servants are in the practice of soliciting for chieftaincy titles and other sundry neutrality which are core values of the Civil Service.
“Accordingly, serving officers are hereby banned from accepting Chieftaincy titles until after retirement from service. This is to stem the observed abuse in the award of these titles and shield the civil servants from unnecessary distraction from our core responsibilities.
“However, 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. This circular takes immediate effect.”
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