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Staff Promotion: Senate Accuses NAFDAC DG, Paul Orhi of Violating Civil Service Rules

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja

BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Senate on Thursday descended on the Director General of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii, for allegedly violating civil service rule with placement of a junior officer above her senior as Deputy Director in the organization.

This followed  a petition from an aggrieved staff of the Agency, Mrs. Esther Amuta, against the Agency for alleged gross injustice against her.

The petition was brought before the Senate on Wednesday, November 4, 2015 by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, who rose on Order 41(3).

The matter was, thereafter, referred to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, headed by Senator Samuel Anyanwu.

During his presentation of the report, Anyanwu disclosed, among other observations and findings of the Committee, that Anita, as a pioneer staff of NAFDAC, has put in 29 years of service in different directorates of the Agency.

“The DG was not right to have imposed a junior deputy as a temporary head of a directorate on retirement of a substantive director, when a more experienced deputy director in that directorate was available.

“The argument of the DG that he placed Mrs. Veronica Ezeh, a junior deputy director ahead of Mrs. Esther Amuta, because of her (Ezeh’s) specialisation in food science and technology and quality assurance, and because of the desire of the Agency to comply with the June 2016 European Union Market (EUM) deadline is not tenable because seniority is recognised in the public service in Nigeria; Mrs. Veronica Ezeh could have effectively assisted Mrs. Esther Amuta, while both of them awaited the appointment of a substantive director.

“The DG did not actually help matters, as he spoke with both sides of his mouth; while he asserted that Mrs. Amuta was a contentious staff, wrote petitions on every matter and consequently unsuitable to head a directorate, he wrote her a letter of appreciation in 2013; and when the Committee asked him why he did that, he said (that) it was his habit to write all staff letters of appreciation as a motivation,” he said.

Consequently, the Committee recommended that: “Mrs. Esther Amuta be immediately restored to her position as the temporary Head/Deputy Director for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Directorate, pending the appointment of a substantive director to that position”.

It also recommended that no punitive measure should be taken against her on account of her petitioning of NAFDAC over her struggle for justice.

In his contribution, Senator Matthew Uroghide described the issue as a case of corruption and violation of the Civil Service rule.

“The Civil Service rule is sacrosanct, and cannot be over looked. This is an issue of corruption. We all know what happens in NAFDAC, especially those of us who are pharmacist,” he lamented.

Uroghide maintained that hierarchy ‎and experience supersedes one’s course of study in the Civil Service.

In his remarks, the Senate ‎President, Senator  Bukola Saraki, commended the Committee for its efforts in producing a detailed report.


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