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Civil Service Commission boss converts office to detention centre

By The Rainbow
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The Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission, Mrs. Joan Ayo, has allegedly converted a cubicle into a detention centre inside the commission's  building at Wuse Zone 3, Abuja.

Investigations by our correspondents indicated that no fewer than four members of staff of the commission had been detained inside the facility for hours on the orders of Ayo over some alleged infractions.

The detention centre, which has two chairs, two tables and an air conditioner, is on the second floor of the civil service building. It is located opposite room 211 and made of aluminium and tinted glasses.

Checks by Saturday PUNCH revealed that three clerical staff members (names withheld) were detained a few weeks ago for allegedly delaying the verification process of letters for new employees.

It was learnt that some of the new employees were from highly placed people from the State House and some ministries.

It was learnt that the chairman had directed her security details to summon the personnel of the Director of Recruitment and Appointment to her office in respect of a list of 22 newly appointed officers forwarded to the office for authentication.

The chairman was said to have ordered the detention of the three clerical staff members while she sent a senior official to get the schedule officer (name withheld), who was directed to ensure an immediate conclusion of the exercise.

Findings showed that the first person who was detained was a secretary in the office of the commissioner representing Lagos and Ogun states in the commission, Mr. R.B. Tinubu.

The female secretary was said to have been speaking loudly when the chairman was passing on the corridor and she reportedly resisted entreaties to keep quiet.

The chairman was said to have overheard the reaction of the secretary, who sought to know when it became an offence for somebody to talk when the chairman was passing through the corridor. The chairman consequently directed her detention in the facility.

It was learnt that it took the intervention of a commissioner to secure the release of the secretary.

When one of our correspondents contacted the President of the National Civil Service Union, Mr. Kiri Mohammed, he said that operating a detention facility was unethical and a violation of the rules guiding the civil service.

Mohammed, a deputy president of the Nigeria Labour Congress, said the civil service was not a security formation that should be running a detention centre.

He said, 'Civil service is not a military or paramilitary organisation. It is governed by rules; there are no rules that say the chairman can detain anybody.'

'The union cannot support it. The union will make further investigation; there are steps guiding the operations of the service. You issue queries, warnings, suspension, or pay half salary and others.'

However, the Chairman of the NCSU, FCT branch, Mr. Lawrence Amaechi, said that his union was aware of the detention of personnel in the commission.

He said that there was fear among the workers because of the chairman's style of administration.

He alleged further that whenever Ayo was moving with her detachment of riot policemen, every worker was expected to stand still.

Amaechi said, 'The truth of the matter is that I am aware of the things the woman is doing. She has no respect for anybody. She moves with a detachment of riot policemen, workers are afraid. When she is moving, nobody moves, nobody knows where she is drawing her powers from.'

But the Chief Security Officer of the commission, Sunday Ifeguma, denied that the chairman was operating a detention centre. He added that the cubicle was a place for her (the chairman's) security details.

He dismissed the issue of the high number of security personnel in the escort of the chairman and explained that the security measures were put in place because of the security situation in the country.

When pressed for the GSM number of the chairman to enable our correspondents to get her response, Ifeguma declined to give the number (Credit: PUNCH).