In what can be described as flagrant disregard for constituted authorities and abuse of office, a department in the Federal Ministry of Transport has directed its officers on Grade Level 14 and 15 to stay away from office unless they are called when their services are need.
The directive is in breach and inconsistent with the of President Muhammadu Buhari which was issued through the Head of Service (HOS) of the Federation Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan that officers from Grade Level 14 and above should resume work.
The Federal Government’s directive, issued on Friday, May 1, 2020 stated that officers on Grade Level 14 and above as well as all those on essential services should resume work from Monday, May 4, 2020.
The HOS who gave the directive in a statement, said it was further to President Muhammadu Buhari’s broadcast on a phased and gradual easing of the lockdown measures occasioned by COVID-19.
But ALSC has seen a directive, sent to staff of the Ministry of Transport through WhatsApp and signed by Saadatu M Umar, a Chief Admin Officer with the Maritime Safety and Security Department which said only officers on Grade 16 and 17 (Deputy Directors and Directors) are to come to work while those from 07 to 15 are to stay away from office unless the services of such staff are needed.
The directive reads- “Following the directive of the Presidential Task Force on COVID -19 on the resumption of duty, I wish to notify all staff of the MSS Department that only Deputy Directors and Nominated Essential staff are to resume work. For the avoidance of doubt, Grade level 07 – 15 are to stay away unless their services are needed.”
Some officers of the Ministry who spoke to ALSC on condition of anonymity said they cannot explain the motive or rational for the directive which they said came as a surprise.
“I heard that our seniors on Grade Level 14 and 15 have been driven away from office by the cabal through a WhatsAapp message. There is no way to understand the reason for this counter directive unless they want to further limit the number of people involved in the sharing.
“You know that one man’s meat is another man’s poison. So some people are ready to make a lot of money from the coronavirus pandemic and limiting the number of people coming to the office is a way of ensuring that prying eyes are reduced so they can pocket what is left of the budget before normal work would resume,” one the staff told us through telephone conversation.