Buhari warns civil servants against graft, indiscipline



PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday swore in 16 of the 18 permanent secretaries of the federal civil service recently appointed with a warning that acts capable of derailing the attainment of the current administration’s change agenda would be viewed with all seriousness and dealt with accordingly.

Restating the need for the permanent secretaries as tools for the implementation of government’s policies, the President noted that the administration believe that the role of civil servants in that regard was paramount, and warned that if they misadvised their political leaders, the ministers, it would be difficult to realise the government objective.

Buhari explained that present administration, conscious of the high expectations of Nigerians in terms of integrity chose to jettison the previous written and oral methods of selecting permanent secretaries and instead resorted to rigorous processes, which among others, included, but not limited to integrity, personal and official conducts.

In keeping with the change mantra of this administration the process for your selection as Permanent Secretaries was a departure from the previous practice of administering written and oral examinations. Instead, a more rigorous selection process, entailing vigorous screening of candidates’ past records, potential and capacity for holding the office, integrity, honesty and sense of commitment was adopted.

I believe this new selection technique will have, hopefully brought up to light some of the best, dedicated, patriotic and hardworking civil servants to hold this position of trust. It is my hope that your subsequent conduct and performance will not prove this administration wrong.

I must, however, sound a note of warning. It is within public domain that Ministers as Chief Executives of their Ministries as well as other government officials involved in policy formulation and implementation often complain of the intolerable levels of incompetence, indifference or even suspected sabotage by some of the top echelon of the civil service.
“Even where Permanent Secretaries, in some instances, are exempted from these accusations, they are still responsible and liable for failing to provide the required leadership, control and direction.
“This administration will not condone any excesses, indifference, incompetence, and corrupt practices in any form. Permanent Secretaries are therefore advised to note these words of caution and disseminate them to all civil servants accordingly.”

The President described Permanent Secretaries as the chief advisers to their respective ministers and is responsible for safeguarding public funds and ensuring the propriety of expenditures under their control. They are also responsible for coordinating their respective bureaucracies as well as ensuring effective implementation of all approved Government programmes and policies.

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