By Sunday Iduh
Benue State House of Assembly has directed the Head of Service to ensure that heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) form part of the staff management committees (SMC) to process promotions of deserving officers and recommend those who are eligible on time.
This directive followed a debate on the report of the Assembly committee on Public Petitions, Bills Review and Appraisal on a petition by Mr. Titus T. Adaku on the deliberate denial of his promotion to the rank of substantive Director held in a committee of the whole on last Thursday
The House also directed the Head of Service to issue a circular prohibiting declaration of age by civil servants after staying in the service for many years, as that clearly shows that such officers intend to manipulate their years so as to stay in the service longer than their legitimate years to serve.
Leading debate on the report, the chairman of the Committee, Hon. Jonathan Agbidyeh informed the House that the petitioner alleged that he was due for promotion to the rank of a substantive Director in 2013, and consequently wrote and passed promotion examination with 66% but was deliberately denied promotions until he retired in 2016.
Hon. Agbidyeh further disclosed that, before Mr. Adaku could write his promotion examination he wrote a petition against Mr. Dennis I. Om, the Director of Planning, Research and Statistics with Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in April, 2013 alleging that he forged documents to over stay in office, and he was subsequently recommended by Mr. Asen Sambe to be reprimanded for publicizing official matter and using wrong channel of communication.
In their contributions, the deputy Speaker, Hon. Christopher Adaji, Hon. Tertsea Gbiseh and Hon. Sugh Abanyi, all decried the situation whereby those who are supposed to effect staff promotions are the ones causing unnecessary delay and stressed the need for sanctions against erring officials, saying it is rather unfortunate that the petitioner had to suffer for saying the truth.
The House, therefore, condemned the action of the management of Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs headed by Mr. Asen Sambe, the then Permanent Secretary who refused to constitute Senior Staff Management Committees (SSMC) to consider staff promotions until the petitioner and six other officers of the Bureau had retired from service without their well deserved promotions and urged Mr. Adaku to accept his retirement as deputy director on GL 15 and process his retirement benefit as civil service rules prohibit promotion of officer after retirement.
In another development, Speaker, Benue State House of Assembly has assured Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JED), of the resolve of the house to support them in any area that will enhance the power supply in the state.
He stated this when the management of JED led by the Regional Manager, Mr. Joseph Kwahgba paid him courtesy visit.
Hon. Ubah charged JED to do more in order to improve supply in view of the increments in tariff, saying people should not be charged for power they did not use as that amount to short changing them.
Earlier, the Regional Manager, Mr. Kwahgba who expressed appreciation to the Speaker for the audience, informed him that their visit was to intimate the House that a lot of policies have been rolled out by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) hence, the need to intimate them.
Mr. Kwahgba disclosed that as a distribution company they are mindful of the peculiarities in their state of operation, adding that JED is coming up with a tariff that is customer friendly.
Speaking during the visit, The Deputy Speaker, Hon. Christopher Adaji, the Majority Leader, Hon. Damian Cheme, Hon. Abu Umoru, Hon. Terwase Aondoakaa among others decried the high rate of sabotage by their staff in the field and emphasized the need for management to monitor their activities.