President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the embattled Head of Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, to proceed on indefinite leave.
He also approved the appointment of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Folashade Yemi-Esan, as the Acting Head of the Civil Service of the Federation with immediate effect.
This was contained in a statement on Wednesday night in Abuja and signed by the Director, Information, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), Willie Bassey.
Oyo-Ita was asked to proceed on leave to allow for the conclusion of the investigation being carried out by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on an alleged N3 billion contract scam.
Oyo-Ita has been under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegations of financial impropriety. She and her aides were quizzed, a development that generated widespread public reaction.
She had reportedly tendered her resignation amid the scandal, which the president reportedly rejected.
There were also reports that she had been using influential persons from her state, Cross River, and across the country, to appeal to the president to allow her a graceful exit from service.
As it is, it appears this might be the end of the road for Oyo-Ita who barely escaped being a casualty in an earlier scandal— the saga of the reinstatement of former pension boss, Abdulrasheed Maina.
She was accused of playing a role in the embarrassing reinstatement of the wanted Maina, an allegation she openly refuted, placing the blame directly on the doorsteps of mr president. Some believe that move may have marked the beginning of the end of her time in office.
Also on Wednesday, the tenure of seven retiring Permanent Secretaries were extended for a period of one calendar year with effect from 1st October, 2019 to ensure stability in the Federal Civil Service.
Affected Permanent Secretaries are, Georgina Ehuriah – Ministry of Interior, Ifeoma I. Anagbogu – Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Grace Gekpe – Federal Ministry of Information & Culture, Umar M. Bello – Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, Suleiman Mustapha Lawal – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mrs. Comfort C. Ekaro – Federal Ministry of Water Resources.
The Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation has been directed to commence the process for the selection of new permanent secretaries to replace all retiring permanent secretaries.
According to the statement by Bassey, this is to ensure stability in the federal civil service and effective delivery on the nine priority areas of the administration as well as the mandates given to the new ministers.
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