By Ezra Ukanwa, Abuja
THE Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) has denied allegations made by certain media platforms that it extorted N23 million from 92 applicants who were aspiring to become permanent secretaries.
OHCSF, in a statement signed by its director of communications, Mohammed Ahmed, at the weekend, in Abuja, clarified that the N250,000 demanded from 92 applicants was for a one-week long training programme commencing from 23rd to 28th October, 2023 at the Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN).
Ahmed also explained that the money for the one-week training did not go into the account of the Head of Service but directed into the accounts of PSIN and the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) who are officially responsible for the training and retraining of Civil servants.
The office, however, demanded for a retraction of the report, adding an apology must be made in 24 hours as part of efforts to put the records straight.
The statement reads in part: “The attention of the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) has been drawn to a frivolous allegation labeled against the person of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, CFR, via an online news story published on 20th October, 2023 with the above misleading heading.
“The unfounded report alleged that the HoCSF compelled ninety-two (92) applicants participating in the ongoing selection process for the appointment of Federal Permanent Secretaries to pay the sum of N250,000 (Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) each for a one-week training programme commencing from 23rd to 28th October, 2023 at the Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN).
“It is imperative to state here that the course fee was not determined by the OHCSF nor is it paid into the Office‘s account. Training and retraining of Civil Servants is the core mandate of PSIN and the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) and as such, monies for such are paid directly into the aforementioned training institutions’ NUBAN account, linked to the Federal Government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA).
“It may also interest you to know that the said training is the fifth in the series since its inception and, most importantly, it is optional. As such, it is the prerogative of the prospective candidate to pay and participate or not. It is aimed at refreshening, as well as sharpening their skills and competencies. There is no penalty for non-participation.
“For the avoidance of doubt and the records, the process for the selection of Federal Permanent Secretaries is segmented, rigorous and transparent. The medium is advised to come for tutelage on the process and posting of Permanent Secretaries rather than relying on allegations and misinformation. This is highly unethical, to say the least.
“It is rather unfortunate that due diligence was not done before this publication. It was written with the sole aim of misinforming the general public for reasons best known to them.”