The Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation has warned permanent secretaries and chief executive officers in the country over rising litigation cases consuming the limited resources of the Nigerian government.
In the memo obtained by SaharaReporters on Sunday, titled ‘HCSF 3065/Vol.1/125’, the HCSF, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, lamented that the poor handling of disciplinary matters was leading to avoidable court cases, “consequential financial implications and embarrassment to government.”
The letter was copied to the Chief of Staff to the President, the honourable ministers, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, permanent secretaries and all the heads of the government agencies.
Yemi-Esan noted that permanent and heads shall be held liable henceforth.
The memo reads, “It has been observed with great concern that there is an increase in court cases arising from dismissal and termination of the appointment of staff without proper administrative procedures by some MDAs. This has led to avoidable litigation leading to court judgments against government with huge consequential financial burden.
“In most cases, the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) is joined as defendants in the litigation instituted by the aggrieved staff or their unions. The consequential appearance by the legal officers depletes the limited resources of the office.
“In the light of the above development, all MDAs are strongly advised to follow due process in handling staff matters, especially disciplinary cases. As you are aware there are useful extant rules, regulations and guidelines that guide disciplinary process. Specifically, public service rules issued by the OHSCF and guidelines on appointments, promotion and disciplines issued by the Federal Civil service Commission.
“Henceforth, permanent secretaries and chief executive officers whose poor handling of disciplinary matters leading to avoidable court cases, consequential financial implications and embarrassment to government shall be held liable.
“Permanent secretaries are advised to note and draw the attention of the CEOs of the agencies under their purview to the contents of this circular for compliance.”
SaharaReporters obtained a similar memo put out by the Federal Civil Service Commission in October 2013 confirming that it was battling with 108 pending court cases amidst its meagre resources.
“The commission is therefore constrained to point out that the attitude of the MDAS to such sensitive matters that border on the integrity of public servants negates the core values of the public service. Henceforth, the commission shall direct all pending matters, litigations in court to the MDAs concerned to defend themselves on their merit.
“In the light of the foregoing, all MDAs are enjoined to operate within the guidelines; while the content of the circular should be brought to the attention of relevant officers for strict compliance,” the memo signed by the then Chairman, J.O. Ayo read.
SaharaReporters, New York