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Head of Civil Service of Nigeria Responds to Extortion Claims

by Ikem Emmanuel

The Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF) of Nigeria has vehemently denied allegations made by Sahara Reporters regarding alleged extortion and manipulation of postings for applicants vying for the position of Permanent Secretaries. Mr. Mohammed Ahmed, the Director of Communications in the HOCSF, addressed the claims made in an online news story published on October 20.

The report, published with the headline, “How Nigeria’s Head of the Civil Service of the Federation Extorted N23 million From 92 Applicants Vying for Post Of Permanent Secretaries, Planned To Manipulate Posting To Ministries,” made several serious allegations.

It was alleged that Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, compelled 92 applicants participating in the selection process to pay N250,000 each for a one-week training program at the Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN), which was scheduled to run from October 23 to 28.

The response from the HOCSF categorically denied the allegations and provided clarification on the matter. According to Mr. Mohammed Ahmed, the course fee was not determined by the HOCSF, nor was it paid into their office’s account. Instead, the training and retraining of civil servants is the responsibility of the PSIN and the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON). Fees for such programs are paid directly into the respective training institutions’ accounts linked to the Federal Government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA).

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Furthermore, the training program in question was stated to be the fifth in a series since its inception, and participation in it is entirely optional. Prospective candidates have the prerogative to decide whether to pay and participate or not, and there are no penalties for non-participation.

The response also emphasized the transparency and rigorous nature of the process for selecting Federal Permanent Secretaries. It suggested that Sahara Reporters should seek proper guidance on the process rather than relying on allegations and misinformation.

The statement from the HOCSF expressed disappointment in the lack of due diligence by Sahara Reporters before publishing the article, and it suggested that the publication may have been aimed at misinforming the public for undisclosed reasons.

In conclusion, the HOCSF requested that Sahara Reporters retract the report within 24 hours and issue an apology to avoid potential legal action.

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