Labour on War Path With AGF Over Retirement

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SWITZERLAND, DECEMBER 08 – A series of controversies are trailing the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, since he celebrated his 60th birthday on Tuesday, November 25, 2020. One of these controversies pertain to his supposed retirement, having reached the age in which all Civil Servants must retire.

This controversy surrounding the AGF continued stay in office may disrupt the industrial peace in the federal civil service if not properly addressed soon in line with the nation’s laws. While the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, says Alhaji Idris is a civil servant who must be bound by the civil service rules, and should immediately retire from office having attained 60 years retirement age, the office of AGF has dismissed ASCSN’s claims, contending that the AGF is a political appointee whose position is not bound by the civil service rules.

ASCSN in a statement by its Secretary-General, Alade Bashir Lawal, threatened to mobilise members to storm the office of the AGF any moment to ensure he proceeded on retirement in accordance with the rules as he had allegedly been boasting that as a close friend to President Muhammadu Buhari, who facilitated his promotion to AGF, he could not be subjected to guidelines on retirement in the Civil Service.

According to the ASCSN’ scribe, Public Service Rule, PSR, 020810 stated clearly that: “The compulsory retirement age for all grades in the service shall be 60 years or 35 years of pensionable service whichever is earlier. No Officer shall be allowed to remain in service after attaining the retirement age of 60 years or 35 years of pensionable service whichever is earlier.”

Lawal lamented that “in spite of the very clear provision on retirement in the Civil Service, some Heads of agencies continue to sit tight in their offices refusing to exit the service on the spurious ground that they have link with Mr President and cannot be subjected to Public Service Rules. Those parading themselves as President’s men might just be name-droppers as President Buhari, a disciplined General, cannot be encouraging impunity in any form.

Back in August, when the issue of the retirement of former Auditor-General, Anthony Ayine came up as he approached his 60th birthday on October 25, the House of Representatives rejected a move to extend his tenure, forcing him to retire after his 60th birthday. A lawmaker was widely quoted then as saying: “The extension of service of public servants due for retirement is anathema to the career progress of other civil servants. We understand there are many directors and we expect that the president would look at their records and appoint the most qualified and perhaps senior to succeed the outgoing.” Is what is sauce for the goose no longer sauce for the gander?

Born on November 25, 1960, Ahmed Idris is of the same age with Nigeria. A financial accountant by profession, Idris was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari as the Accountant-General of the federation in June 2015, replacing Jonah Ogunniyi Otunla. A member of the Association of National Accountant of Nigeria (ANAN), Idris was a director in the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel prior to his appointment as the country’s chief accountant. In June 2019, shortly after President Buhari was sworn in for a second term in office, he reappointed Idris, thereby throwing up the contradiction  of when his tenure as a civil servant is really expected to end.

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