Nigeria’s top officials are warned over corruption, again
The Nigerian government has repeated its call on permanent secretaries to act with integrity and reject corrupt activities.
Speaking during a one-day retreat for the country’s top government officials, Babachir Lawal, the minister responsible for overseeing departments’ implementation of government policy, reminded permanent secretaries that they have to adhere to public service rules and financial regulations and apply discipline and transparency in their jobs.
Newly appointed acting civil service head Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita, said permanent secretaries must shun all acts of corruption and ensure that their management of resources is strictly in accordance with the rules.
She said that president Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is “very serious about the change ideology which all of us are called to embrace,” according to news website Leadership.
Oyo-Ita’s speech followed an earlier appeal by Buhari during the official swearing-in of 18 new permanent secretaries, in which he warned that corruption or incompetence would not be tolerated.
Buhari swept to power in May this year after an election campaign largely based on a promise to root out corruption.
Since then, he has put many public projects on hold to review the contracts, and ordered many government ministries, departments and agencies to consolidate their bank accounts for closer monitoring of financial transactions.
He has overhauled the management of the state oil company, while also moving to retrieve stolen money.
Chronic oil theft, coupled with falling crude prices, have triggered Nigeria’s worst economic crisis in years.
Diversification of Nigeria’s economy – the largest in Africa, is imperative, according to Oyo-Ita, who in her speech to officials called “for attitudinal change on all of us as public servants.”
Permanent Secretaries must be ‘EPIC’ civil servants, she said, adding that ‘E’ stands for ‘efficient, ‘P’ for productive, ‘I’ for incorruptible; and ‘C’ For citizen-centred.