Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Jonathan Recalls 45 Directors From Retirement

President Goodluck Jonathan has recalled 45 directors in the foreign affairs ministry who had been asked to proceed on retirement.

The directors were asked to proceed on retirement last December having completed their eight years tenure as directors at ministry of foreign affairs.

A memo dated March 7, 2014 from the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Ambassador Martin Uhomoibhi, with ref no. PSO/C.2 said the president had approved the recall of the affected directors.

Daily Trust learnt that the directors have already returned to their work.

Some of them were said to have participated in planning meetings for the centenary summit which ended two weeks ago.

Sources in the ministry said the development was causing concern among staff of the ministry.

The memo reads in part: "... please be informed that Mr. President has graciously approved that the 45 directors in the ministry of foreign affairs be recalled and henceforth, the basis for retirement of officers in the federal public service should be based on the actual date of promotion and not notional date".

The president ordered the head of service of the federation to implement the directive "with immediate effect."

Daily Trust further learnt that some of the officers who had taken over from the affected directors have been posted outside Nigeria to avoid a clash over positions.

Some directors who were retired in the past based on the notional date of their promotion are planning to stage a comeback to work or lay claims to financial entitlements for the period, Daily Trust further gathered.

On January 27, Daily Trust had exclusively reported that 45 directors in the ministry were holding on to their offices even though they have been instructed to proceed on retirement.

The directors, according to documents seen by Daily Trust, were due for retirement on December 31, 2013 because they were promoted with effect from January 1, 2006.

But they insisted on staying on arguing that their tenure of eight years as directors needed to be calculated from the date they assumed office and not the notional date of promotion.

They said the eight-year tenure policy introduced in 2009 stipulates that a director shall serve for a maximum of two terms of four years each.

"The affected directors argued that their eight years tenure should count from the actual date of promotion in 2008 and not the notional date of promotion which is 2006 as they were not paid any entitlement from 2006."

Earlier last year, the head of service had issued a circular dated January 9, 2014, as well as an official gazette No. 2 Vol.1 of the same date, directing "all directors in the ministry of Foreign Affairs who are in this category should proceed on retirement."

On January 16, Ambassador Martin I. Uhomoibhi, the ministry's permanent secretary, also issued a memo asking the directors to retire in compliance with the civil service tenure system.

But the affected directors cited a judgment by Justice Benedict Kanyip of the National Industrial Court on the December 16, 2013 in which he ruled that the tenure policy should affect a director from the actual date that he assumes office.

The judgment was delivered in favour of Ambassador Dozie Nwanna, who sued National Intelligence Agency (NIA) challenging his retirement.

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