Facts have emerged on how the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF), Folasade Yemi-Esan, through the Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN) extorted about N23million from 92 applicants vying for the post of permanent secretaries of various ministries in Nigeria.
SaharaReporters gathered that all the applicants were compelled to pay N250,000(per head) for a one-week training programme from 23rd to 28th October 2023.
Sources privy to the situation revealed to SaharaReporters that the money, estimated to be N23,000,000, was not remitted to the Treasure Single Account(TSA) amid plans to also manipulate the posting of the permanent secretaries and give “juicy ministries” to the HOCSF’s inner circle.
One of the top sources said, “On the corrupt practices leading to the selection of the Permanent Secretaries, there is no justification for the Head of Service, through the Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN) to compel the ninety-two (92) director candidates, whose salary is merely half a million naira (N500,000.00) per month to pay half of their salary (N250,000.00) for a one-week training program from 23 – 28 October 2023.
“This training could have been organised for successful candidates upon their becoming Permanent Secretaries and at Government expense. Alas, the PSIN will be expected to generate twenty-three million naira from N23,000,000.00 income by extorting money from the 92 candidates, notwithstanding that the institute is funded from taxpayers’ money100%. Meanwhile, the institute does not even remit a kobo to TSA from this kind of corruptly generated money.
“This ugly practice has been in existence for many, many years and must therefore be stopped immediately. It need to be pointed out that by subjecting the Directors into financial difficulty in the form of collecting half of their take-home, the PSIN which is meant for training and retraining of public officials would be teaching them to become corrupt. It is generally believed that people who spend money to get to a position would, upon getting to the position, want to recoup their money many times over.”
Another source noted that the corruption that has afflicted the process of appointing permanent secretaries in the country has discouraged many talented and skilled persons who would typically be useful to our socioeconomic challenges.
The source added: “Notwithstanding that the position is dear to the heart of all careers civil servants, many Directors in the Federal Civil Service have lost faith in the ongoing process, leading to the appointment of Federal Permanent Secretaries Consequently, a number of competent and capable directors have opted not to take part in the exercise scheduled to take place on 30th October 2023, knowing that the process would not be transparent. They therefore call on Mr. President to quickly step in and make the appointment of Federal Permanent Secretaries on merit and without the tainted input from the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF).
“They pointed at the ugly practice of buying the position by money-bag directors and their sponsors who pay hundreds of millions of naira for the position.
This claim is not far-fetched looking at the composition of the present set of permanent secretaries.
“Directors from the office of Accountant General of the Federation constitute nearly one-fifth of the Federal Permanent Secretaries. Yet, the largest bloc of Federal Perm Secs is drawn from the medical doctors. There are, at present, 12 medical directors out of 44 federal perm secretaries. The reason for this is that the HOCSF is a medical doctor herself.
The sad and unfortunate practice does not stop at the appointment; HOCSF is notorious in posting her professional colleagues to strategic and lucrative ministries such as defence, aviation, police affairs and interior. Little wonder that some ministers have found it difficult to work with their Perm Secs.“
According to the source, it is consequently in the national interest for President Bola Tinubu, who is statutorily vested with the ability to nominate Permanent Secretaries, to take the required steps to do so on merit, without any tainted involvement from the Federation’s Head of Civil Service.
“Former presidents, all the way up to President Muhammadu Buhari, have made direct selections of permanent secretaries based on merit and demonstrated service records,” the source added.