Benue Gov Demotes Perm Secs, Sacks Ortom’s Last-Minute Appointees

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Benue State Governor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, has nullified recent appointments into the State Civil Service made by the immediate-past governor, Samuel Ortom.

Alia said, “All appointments into the state civil service made by the outgone administration from May 2022 to date are hereby nullified with immediate effect.”

Recall that prior to the inauguration of the new governor, the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress had engaged in a war of words over last-minute policies being made by Ortom’s administration, which ranged from recruitment of workers, promotion of staff, to award of contracts.

While the APC, through its Publicity Secretary, Daniel Ihomun, raised the alarm and accused the then administration of creating a bottleneck for smooth take-off of the new government, the PDP, through its Publicity Secretary, Bemgba Iortyom, justified the last-minute policies, saying Ortom remained the governor of the state until May 29.

But in a statement issued on Wednesday by his Chief Press Secretary, Kula Tersoo, the governor, while nullifying all the appointments made by his predecessor, also ordered all those who had retired but had yet to vacate their offices or duty posts, either because of extension or contract appointment, to proceed on retirement forthwith.

The statement read in part, “All civil servants due for retirement but are yet to tender their letters of retirement or notice of retirement should do so forthwith and proceed on retirement immediately.

“All civil servants and or persons appointed Permanent Secretaries from the month of January 2023 to date should revert to their previous positions forthwith.

“All the postings and transfers made in the state civil service from October 2022, to date are hereby nullified. The affected staff should revert to their former ranks, or stations or offices with immediate effect.”

But in a swift reaction, the PDP, at a press conference at its secretariat in Makurdi, expressed concern about Alia’s decision and “condemns in no uncertain terms this directive as unlawful, insensitive and callous.”

The PDP said, “We condemn all the misguided, arbitrary and unpopular actions so far taken by Governor Hyacinth Alia and we call on all who mean well for Benue State to do the same. This arbitrary sack order on Benue civil servants and those issued earlier to heads of agencies and parastatals in the state only opens the gateway to possible litigations, which will not be in the interest of the administration and the state at large.

“Governor Alia should, therefore, without delay rescind the sack order he has issued to the thousands of civil servants in the state, as to do so will be to save his administration and the state as a whole the ill wind which the action is bound to generate which will surely do no one any good.”

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