Alleged N3bn contract scam: Buhari replaces Oyo-Ita with Yemi-Esan as acting HoS

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Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita
HOS, Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita

…As EFCC sets to commence investigation

By Kayode Tokede and Olabode Jegede

President Muham madu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja approved the appointment of Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan as the Acting Head of the Civil Service of the Federation with immediate effect over the alleged N3billion contract scam.

Oyo-Ita is being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged N3billion bribery, duty tour allowance falsification and fraud case.

In a statement signed by Mr. Willie Bassey, Director Information, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Yemi-Esan, who was the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, takes over from Oyo-Ita.

According to Bassey, Oyo-Ita has been directed to proceed on an indefinite leave to allow conclusion of the investigation being carried out by the EFCC.

He said the President had also approved the extension of the tenure of seven retiring Permanent Secretaries for a period of one calendar year with effect from October 1.

“This is to ensure stability in the Federal Civil Service and effective delivery on the nine priority areas of the administration as well as the mandates given to the new Ministers.

The affected Permanent Secretaries are: Mrs. Georgina Ehuriah – Ministry of Interior; Mrs. Ifeoma Anagbogu – Federal Ministry of Women Affairs; and Mrs Grace Gekpe – Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.

Others are: Dr. Umar Bello – Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; Mr. Suleiman Lawal – Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Mrs. Comfort Ekaro – Federal Ministry of Water Resources.

Mr. Olusegun Adekunle would serve as Permanent Secretary, General Services Office, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

Similarly, the President has directed the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to commence the process for the selection of new Permanent Secretaries to replace all retiring Permanent Secretaries.

“The decision of government to extend the tenure of these permanent secretaries is premised on the need to ensure that the new ministers are properly guided.

“And also to be briefed about their sectors and to ensure that a solid foundation is laid for the delivery on the Presidential Mandate, which they jointly signed.”

Bassey said that the permanent secretaries would also help the ministers to manage the process for the preparation of the 2020 Budget in line with the commitment of Government to return to the January-December budget circle.

He added that this would help develop various policies and programmes aimed at lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.

“The action of Mr. President is in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 171 (2) d of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).”

In August, the sacked Head of the Civil Service of the Federation was reported to have send her letter of retirement to President Buhari amidst allegation of fraud levelled against her.

She was invited by the EFCC in late August to answer questions regarding the allegations, which emanated from a petition against her.

She has, however, denied all the allegations.

According to reports, Oyo-Ita gave in to pressure from relatives who reportedly advised her to resign her position “because of her health.”

She has been at home on sick leave and was absent at the presidential retreat for ministers-designate at the State House in Abuja on Monday.

“She has decided to quit her position at the HCSF because of the controversy surrounding the allegations against her, her state of health and advice from family members.

“She is, however, still determined to meet with President Buhari to prove her innocence,” said the source.

The international and diplomatic passports of the former head of the civil service of the federation was seized by the Commission, while all accounts of affected companies have now being placed under watch.

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