President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that Abdulrasheed Maina, a fugitive civil servant wanted for allegedly stealing N2billion, be disengaged from the civil service is illegal, says Jiti Ogunye, a human rights lawyer.
Ogunye in a Facebook post explained there is legal entanglement to the presidential directive, as only the civil service commission, and not the president, has the power of hire, discipline and disengagement of any erring civil servant.
“Under the law ( Public Service Rules and Section 11 (1)(b)of the Interpretation Act, Cap I 23, Vol.8, LFN, 2004,), it is the Federal Civil Service Commission or the Permanent Secretary or Heads of Extra Ministerial Department as the case may be ( to whom disciplinary powers are delegated) that have the statutory power to mete disciplinary actions, including dismissal ( or sack ) to civil servants”, Ogunye stated.
He continued: “In particular, Rule 04102 of the Public Service Rules provides that ” the power to dismiss and to exercise disciplinary control over officers in the Federal Civil Service Commission is vested in the FCSC. This power may be delegated to any member of the Commission or any officer in the Federal Civil Service.
“Legally, therefore, the President lacks the power to sack or direct the Sack of Maina,”Ogunye stated.
The human rights lawyer said rather the president should sack his AGF (Attorney-general of the federation Abubakar Malami), the Minister of the Interior (Abdulrahman Dambazzau) and any political appointee including his Chief of Staff who are reported to have masterminded and orchestrated the Maina fiasco”.
“So, the President has left those he could sack and has gone for the head of the one he could not lawfully sack”, Ogunye chipped in.
He was however pessimistic about President Buhari’s directive that the matter be investigated and its findings submitted to it.
“It appears to be forlon hope that the President will move soon against the members of his kitchen cabinet who are hatching one plot of dent for him after another.”
Ogunye’s pessimism, as those of many Nigerians, is that similar investigations the president had ordered into malfeasances of some of his cabinet appointees came to naught. An example is the investigation into the allegations of corruption levelled against suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal. Also, was the suspended director-general of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, Ayo Oke, who was found to have haul of foreign currencies in a private apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos. Despite the report on the probe of Lawal and Oke submitted to the president, he has since refused to act on them.