The condition of service in the civil service is fashioned in a way that the retired civil servant is placed on pension on retirement. Although, if compared to the services at the corporate firms or enterprise, there are notable advantages and disadvantages. Interestingly, as the name implies the civil service and public service operated either as a ministry or parastatals under the federal government, state and local government administrations respectively. It is obvious that without the inputs of the civil servant, the government institution may not have been in existence and would have operated in a vacuum. Civil servants are not only those working directly at the seat of government or at its helm of affairs. For instance, retirement proceedings for those working in government house and its immediate establishments, are treated with urgency to actualise positive results for the affected civil servant. Without controversy, civil servants are the hubs on which the government operates. Both parties reciprocate one another in the discharge of functional activities to move the state forward. Conversely, the treatment accorded contemporaries of civil servants in corporate organisations at retirement is different, for instance, in the civil service, there are two categories of benefit on retirement namely, gratuity and pension. Truly, when a civil servant retires either through the required number of years or old age or death, the total amount of years of service are worked out and monetized paid once to the retiree, while pension continue thereafter for life. Ironically, a lot of retirees have not lived to enjoy the fruits of their labour, primarily because of unnecessary delay for the processing of retirement document even after the stipulated three months in lieu of notice. This ugly situation had led to the formation of Pension Associations in order to facilitate issues affecting the reitirees. Even the first retirement benefit that is the gratuity usually taken a long time to come by. The retiree under go perpetual agony for months or years before being paid the benefit. In the process, some had felt sick and died. At this point, it become more complex and of course, some Where along the line, some case(s) may go into oblivion if there is nobody to follow-up the matter to a logical conclusion. The counterpart in corporate companies enjoys quick attention in relation to the working of their gratuities without much pain. No wonder some civil servants question the rationale behind the delay in the government circle, about the quick release of their retirement benefits. In fact, with the trend of things, the state of the civil service appears bleak if this present recurring decimal continues unabated. It is pertinent that after retirement, the retiree could not accomplish or carry out any meaningful project due to delay in the payment of his/her right, probably at a time when he/she is psychologically, physiologically, socially and mentally incapacitated. However, one began to nurse negative feelings about the civil service, when greater percentage of the life span of a civil servant is spent serving the nation. Nevertheless, civil servants are a political element; however, they cannot be designated as active politicians, even when they rather are very supportive to the political institution. Certainly, during elections, seventy-five per cent of the total vote cast comes from civil servants but later relegated to the background. Summarily, it behoves one to beckon on both federal and state governments in particular to see the civil servants as instrument for the implementation of polices and civil servants who had worked to retirement age should be accorded high programmes of any government in power at federal, state and the third tier, and they should be accorded respect on the retirement. The modalities for the processing of the gratuity and pension benefits should be within the range of three months instead of the agony associated with the delay in releasing their retirement benefits. The welfare of civil servants should be handled with care and the urgency it requires, because they devoted life and energy to serve the nation irrespective of the meager remuneration, unlike their counterparts in corporate companies that receives fat pay as their monthly salary. This would gender them to achieve higher productive while still on active service. Philosophically, it is asserted, “One good turn deserves another.” Therefore, the younger generation are watching with kin interest, how their patriarchs are being treated to which may form major factor in their consideration to take up civil service job as future career. The three-tier government should expedite action now to curb the ugly situation facing retirees in this land flowing with milk and honey. The long history of delay in payment of gratuities, pension to duly retired civil servants should be fast tracked check minimum delay. Ominyanwa, a public affairs analyst, resides in Port Harcourt.
Declare Buhari’s Seat Vacant, Owuru Urges Court
The candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the last presidential election, Chief Ambrose Owuru, has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to declare the seat of President Muhammadu Buhari vacant.
Owuru, who was among the four petitioners that went to tribunal to challenge Buhari’s re-election, in his fresh suit, sought for an order to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from “undertaking or planning any other election into the office of the President”, in 2023.
The Plaintiff, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/480/2021, maintained that Buhari is “an unlawful President that is illegally occupying the Presidential seat”.
It would be recalled that Owuru and his party, HDP, had in an earlier appeal they litigated up to the Supreme Court, insisted that the Justice Mohammed Garba-led Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, erroneously dismissed a petition they lodged against the return of Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as winner of the presidential election that held on February 23, 2019.
They specifically prayed the apex court to sack Buhari on the premise that he emerged through an illegal process.
According to the Appellants, INEC, failed to follow condition precedents stipulated in the Electoral Act, when it unduly postponed the presidential election that was originally fixed for February 16.
The HDP claimed that its candidate, Owuru, secured over 50million votes in a referendum that was conducted by both electorates and observer networks that were dissatisfied with the unilateral postponement of the presidential election by INEC.
However, in a unanimous decision, a five-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mary Odili, struck out the appeal for constituting “a gross abuse of the judicial process”.
Meantime, in the fresh suit, Owuru and his party argued that their suit against Buhari at the Supreme Court was inconclusive.
The Plaintiffs argued that the case was fixed outside the 60 days period that was allowed by the law.
Owuru asked the court to declare him the authentic winner of the last presidential poll, as well as, to issue an order for his immediate inauguration to take over from Buhari.
He prayed the court to declare that he is entitled to serve out a tenure of 4 years after his formal inauguration.
More so, the HDP presidential candidate, aside from asking for Buhari’s immediate removal from office, equally prayed the court to compel him to refund all salaries, allowances and emoluments he collected while he unlawfully stayed in office as President.
Owuru also asked the court to give an order that salaries, allowances and emoluments be paid to him from May 29, 2019, when he ought to have been sworn in, till date.
The Plaintiff further applied for, “An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Respondents by themselves and acting through their agents, servants, privies and or proxies howsoever from any further organizing, undertaking or planning of any other election into the office of the President of Nigeria or any such other Presidential Election interfering, harassing and or disturbing the Applicant adjudged acquired right as unopposed and unchallenged winner of the original scheduled and held the February 16 Presidential Election thereof until the 1st Applicant unserved constitutional four years term of office is served pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit by this honourable court”.
Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the matter were Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, and INEC.
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the matter to be heard.
World Bank Report Exposes Buhari’s Lies, PDP Affirms
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the report by World Bank that 7 million Nigerians have been pushed into poverty in the last year, has clinically belied the integrity posturing of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The opposition party said the World Bank report came in the face of the recent claims by President Buhari that his administration has lifted over 10 million Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years.
The PDP asserted that the report by the World Bank has further vindicated its position that President Buhari runs an uncoordinated and clueless administration that thrives on lies, false performance claims, deceit, and perfidious propaganda.
The statement added that, “Nigerians can now clearly see why the APC and President Buhari’s handlers are always in a frenzy to attack our party and other well-meaning Nigerians whenever we point to the poor handling of the economy and on the need for President Buhari to always be factual on pertinent issues of governance in our country.
“Unfortunately, it indeed appears that Mr. President enjoys living in denial while watching millions of Nigerians go down in abject poverty, excruciating hunger, and starvation as our country now ranks 98th out of 107 in Global Hunger Index under his watch.
“Otherwise, why would Mr. President claim that his administration has lifted over 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty while official figures even from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show worsening poverty rate with 142.2% growth in food inflation and over 82.9 million Nigerians being unable to afford their daily meals due to the failure of the administration to take practical steps to grow and protect the food sector?
“Under President Buhari, Nigerians are now subjected to the worst form of poverty and hardship, with collapsed purchasing power, occasioned by a voodoo economy management that has wrecked our productive sectors and pummeled our naira from the about N167 to a US dollar in 2015 to the current over N500 per dollar.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. President will choose to always bandy fictitious figures and false performance claims, when he has, in a space of six years, destroyed our national productivity and reduced our country to a beggarly nation, a laughing stock and object of pity among the comity of nations.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note President Buhari and APC’s similar false performance claims in other critical sectors, including power, transportation, road infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, security, aviation among others, where the Buhari administration has been bandying fictitious figures with no tangible project to point at.
“Our party counsels President Buhari, his handlers as well as their party, the APC, to note that Nigerians have seen through their deceitful clams.
“The PDP, once again, urges Mr. President to end his false performance claims and get more competent hands to manage the economy before every Nigerian is turned into a street beggar.”
Amnesty Kicks As FG Pushes Social Media Regulation
Amnesty International has strongly opposed the call by the Nigerian Government to regulate the use of social media and online broadcasters.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had urged the House of Representatives to include regulation of Twitter in the National Broadcasting Commission Act.
The minister made the call at the public hearing on a bill to amend the NBC Act organised by the House Committee on Information.
“I will want to add, that specifically, internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have responsibility to monitor content— including Twitter,” he said.
Reacting, Amnesty International, in a tweet via its Twitter account, yesterday, kicked against the motion.
It noted that when social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the internet and limit access to social media.
It further noted that criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“When social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the Internet and limit access to social media.
“Criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“Regulating social media in Nigeria could be easily abused to punish critics of government policies and actions, and anyone who asks difficult questions could find themselves liable for ‘diminishing public confidence in the government.’
“Seeking a law to prohibit abusive, threatening and insulting behaviour is open to very wide interpretation. This section would pose a threat to critical opinion, satire, public dialogue and political commentary,” the statement added.
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