FIRS chair ignores Buhari’s directive, retires nine directors - AMEBO ONLINE NEWSPAPER

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FIRS chair ignores Buhari’s directive, retires nine directors

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The Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Muhammad Nami, has been accused of unlawful retirement of nine directors of the agency to pave the way for his allies.

Our correspondent was told that Nami relied on an old civil service rule, which had been suspended to remove the directors.

The PUNCH gathered that the government of late President Umaru Yar’Adua had instituted a civil service rule which made it compulsory for directors to retire after serving for eight years.

However, the regime of the President, Maj. Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd), rescinded that directive.

According to new regulations, civil servants are to leave service after attaining the retirement age of 60 or spending 35 years in service.

A circular was said to have been issued to indicate the suspension of the earlier order.

A copy of the document, obtained by our correspondent and dated June 20, 2016, was also addressed to the FIRS.

“With reference to letter No. SH/COS/100/A/1462 dated June 17, 2016, I write to convey Mr. President’s directive that the tenure policy in the Federal Civil Service is suspended with immediate effect. This notice is for the attention of all concerned for compliance,” the letter, signed by a former Head of Service, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, said.

The new regulation was reportedly upheld by the former Chairman of the FIRS, Mr Babatunde Fowler, as no director was retired as long as they had not crossed the retirement benchmark.

However, after Nami assumed office in November 2019, he was said to have instructed that directors who had served for eight years be retired.

Nine directors received retirement letters in March 2020.

A copy of the letter, signed by Nami read in part, “The board of the Federal Inland Revenue Service at its emergency meeting No.2 held on March, 20, 2020, approved the retirement of all directors who have served eight years and above as directors in the service in line with Para 10: 1(a)(iii) of HRPP. Accordingly, you are hereby notified of your compulsory retirement from the service with immediate effect.”

The affected directors were Victor Ekundayo (Career and Skills Development); Mrs Kemi Odusanya (Facility); Emmanuel Obeta (Chairman’s Office); Chiaka Okoye (Programme Office Non-Tax); Mr Kola Okunola (ICT); Dr Asheik Maidugu (Planning and Statistics); Mr Innocent Ohagwa (Human Capital Development); Mr Ezra Zubair (Programmes and Policy Monitoring) and Mr Olufemi Faniyi (Team Lead Tax Operations Group).

A few days later, the FIRS chairman issued another memo to announce the appointment of new directors and a special assistant.

The new appointees included Director, Finance and Accounts, Ahmed Musa; Special Assistant Technical to the Executive Chairman, Mustapha Ndajumo; Director, Internal Affairs and Efficiency, Ahmed Ndannusa; Director, Communication and Liaison Department, Abdulahi Ismaila; and Acting Director, Executive Chairman’s Office, Aisha Mohammed.

Aside from the new appointees not being members of staff of the FIRS, they were reported to be Nupes, the same ethnic group with the Niger-State born Nami.

The PUNCH observed that Paragraph 10:1(a)(iii) of the FIRS Human Resources Policies and Processes (HRPP) on which the retirement decision was based stated that directors who had attained eight years in the position should be retired.

However, Paragraph 1.8.1 of the HRPP said whatever was written in the book was subject to the amendment of extant circulars.

“All extant circulars, directives, notices, orders and other documents amending, giving further details and/or explanation to the provisions of this policy document hereto shall form an integral part of the HRPP and shall be binding,” it added.

One of the retired directors alleged that the chairman had a plan hence his decision not to comply with the government circular which had already suspended the paragraph 10.

“Without taking recognition of the circular, the chairman just asked all the nine directors to retire. He quoted Paragraph 10, but ignored the Paragraph 1,” he added.

Our correspondent learnt that there was disquiet among some of the senior staff members who were sidelined for the contract staff.

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