Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Presidency Debunks Rumoured Sack of Jega, Asks Opposition to Desist from Inciting Propaganda

Director, Special Duties in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Col. Bello Fadile (rtd.) Calls for support for ongoing offensive against Boko Haram   INEC spokesman denies Jega’s terminal leave The presidency has debunked the rumour gaining grounds online and the social media that the embattled Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has been sacked by the federal government.

The Director, Special Duties in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Col. Bello Fadile (rtd), citing security concern on Tuesday, warned politicians spreading falsehood capable of inciting violence to desist from doing so. The warning came as the spokesman to Jega, Mr. Kayode Idowu, faulted reports that the INEC boss would proceed on terminal leave on March 1 this year. Since the postponement of the elections last weekend, there have been reports that President Goodluck Jonathan’s next move is to relieve Jega of his job and replace him with a pliant person to conduct the elections.

But Fadile described the rumoured sack as an outright falsehood and mischievous propaganda, allegedly engineered by some forces within the main opposition, the  All Progressives Congress (APC). According to him, “The rumoured sack of Jega is not from the presidency but  part of the propaganda by the opposition to soil the good name of the president, to discredit the government and cause trouble.” He said the current administration is a law abiding government that “follows the constitution in the discharge of its duties including the chairman of INEC or any member for that matter. “The questions of leave or no leave, the laws are clear about it and the government has nothing to do with that.

The man has a job to do and please allow him to do the job without dragging the government into it and the man working under the rule of law. “This is the government that has been obeying the rule of law and is not going to abandon its adherence to it. Please they should allow Jega to do his work and stop heating up the polity. “They should stop fanning the embers of trouble and inciting people into violence.” He advised that rather than encouraging Nigerians to come out and collect their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) to ensure free, fair and credible elections,  the parties involved “are busy spreading lies, falsehood and mischievous propaganda that is capable of heating up the polity.” Fadile further urged the members of the public, the APC and their supporters who are in the habit of attacking the military and security forces, dragging them into political issues to allow them concentrate on the immediate task of defeating the Boko Haram terrorists. “They should also give a breather for our security forces to concentrate in their ongoing efforts to destroy the known camp of the Boko Haram terrorists. We should pray for the success of the efforts of our troops in the search and destruction of the terrorists’ known camps,” he added.

The presidency wondered why such rumour should gain ground when there is no corresponding letter from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) announcing the sack or with the knowledge of the Attorney-General of the Federation. “Can such a decision be taken without him knowing. Is that possible? Can this happen without any of such letter confirming it from the OSGF. If the opposition are sure let them tender such a letter from the SGF or produce such a letter from the presidency,” the challenged. Meanwhile, Idowu who spoke on Channels Television, said Jega’s appointment was not guided by civil service rules and so he would serve until his tenure elapses on June 30 this year. Idowu also said the ballot papers for Nigeria’s presidential election scheduled to hold on 28 March were ready. He said the ballot papers had been delivered by the printers and that they were being kept in the vault of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The INEC spokesman also disclosed that thousands of ad hoc staff were being trained for the elections initially billed to take place on February 14 and 28 but shifted to  March 28 and April 11. He said the postponement would allow INEC perfect its preparations for the polls, adding that there can never be 100 per cent preparations for an election since things continue to change until the last day of the polls. But Idowu may not be right after all, with reports that Jega may be asked to proceed on terminal leave in March. A federal civil service circular, issued by former head of service, Alhaji Isa Bello Sali, entitled: ‘Three Months pre-retirement/terminal leave’ made no distinction as to whether one is a career civil servant or a political appointee. According to the circular, “It has been observed that the mandatory notice of retirement for officers who are due to retire is not being observed as provided for in the extant rules. Accordingly, it has become necessary to reiterate the provisions of Public Service Rules (PSR) 100238 which states that officers are required to give three months notice of their retirement from service terminating on the effective date of their retirement”

The circular was addressed and sent to the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Justice of the Federation, all Ministers, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Service Chiefs, the Inspector-General of Police, Chairman Federal Civil Service Commission, the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the chairman of INEC. Others are Heads of extra-ministerial departments, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Auditor-General of the Federation, Surveyor-General of the Federation, Directors-General/chief executives of parastatals and agencies. Jega’s predecessor, Prof Maurice. Iwu’s tenure was due to expire on June 13, 2010. However, on April 28, 2010, then acting President Jonathan, ordered Iwu to proceed on terminal leave. Former Inspector General of Police, Abubakar’s tenure was due to end on July 30, 2014 but he proceeded or was sent on terminal leave on May 12, 2014. Former Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Dahiru Musdapher voluntarily proceeded on terminal leave three months before the constitutional or mathematical end of his tenure.
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