Another Altercation With Presidency: House Of Rep In A Face-Up With Presidency Over The Extension Of The Tenure Of Education Perm. Sec.
The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education, Hon. Zakari Mohammed, yesterday insisted that severe sanctions will be met out against the Head of Service of the Federation (HOSF), Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, if she fails to appear before the committee by tomorrow with documents relating to the service extension granted the former Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, Dr. Jamila Shu’ara.
Hon. Zakari Mohammed handed down the ultimatum following the failure of the HoS to produce the controversial letter of extension of service at the resumed hearing and threatened to invoke legislative sanctions in line with the constitution.
Other committee members further expressed disgust over the inability of the Oyo-Ita to show up with the documents despite being informed earlier to provide the documents she claimed directing her to ignore Dr. Jamila’s retirement and warned her to produce them by Friday 12 pm or risk their wrath.
The committee chairman further vowed to pursue the matter to a logical conclusion no matter whose Ox is gored in order to forestall future practices.
According to the Chairman, “we as parliament will pursue this matter to a logical conclusion, we are not happy with the manner the Head Of Service of the Federation (HOSF) is handling this matter.”
“This Thursday will be the last day we will deal with this matter; you must come with all the required documents, you must tell this committee everything you know about the matter”.
Some members, however, asked the HoS if she had any reason why she would not be able to come with the documents as requested. But they were overruled by the chairman who said: “We don’t want to know if there is any reason or reasons now please, she must appear here by 12 noon tomorrow.”
He said’ it was in the interest of the country to reach a logical conclusion so people don’t overstay in their positions thereby denying other Nigerians the opportunity of being gainfully employed.”
Oyo-Ita initially told the committee she acted on the recommendation of the Chief of Staff (COS) to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba kiyari in extending the service of Shu’ara while the COS, in turn, claimed that the president acted on the approval based on the recommendation of the HoS.
The implication of this is that the House of Representatives may overrule President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to extend the tenure of office of the retired Education Permanent Secretary, Jamila Shu’ara, insisting that Buhari’s action is illegal according to the laws guiding the federal civil service.
The house of reps committee immediately directed the Head of Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita to sack the affected Permanent Secretary and ensure that all emoluments enjoyed till date by Shu’ara since February 2016 when she was formally disengaged were returned to government coffers.
The lawmakers said the President had no power under section 171(2)(d) of the 1999 Constitution or any other existing law to extend or elongate the tenure of a Permanent Secretary whose tenure had expired by time or age, whichever comes first
The committee resolved that “The Head of Service should invoke relevant rules to recover all the emoluments paid to Mrs. Jamila Shuara for the period of the extension.
“That the Government should ensure that Civil service rules and procedures be strictly followed in future “That the retirement date of Dr. Mrs. Jamila Shuara remains 20th Feb.2016
“That Dr. Mrs. Jamila Shuara should vacate office immediately as her retirement date remains 20th Feb. 2016. “That the Head of Service should ensure compliance to this subject matter and report back to the House in four weeks’ time