Anger as document warning Nigerian officials not to leak govt documents leaked!

ILLUSTRATIVE: President Buhari (left) during the swearing in of Yemi-Esan as HOCSF. (File photo)

The action of some civil servants who are in the habit of exposing government internal memos the public has angered authorities at Nigeria’s Presidency.

As a result, the Federal Government came out on Monday, issuing a stern warning to the civil servant against indiscriminate leakage of confidential documents to the press, and especially having such published on social media.

What it was discovered necessitated the public warning of government officials, and not using the normal routine was as a result of the failure of the internal means of communicating government directives to staff.

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The straw that broke the camel’s back was a recent development, when a copy of the memo on the same issue addressed to the President, Vice President, Chief of Staff to the President, Ministers, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), and other top government functionaries, was leaked.

As if an irony wasted, the said memo with reference numbered HCSF/109/S.1/120 dated May 22, 2020, with copies circulated the aforementioned government official, including the President, addressing the issue of document leakage was also leaked by unknown member(s) of the civil service.

Consequently, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF), Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, expressing the Federal Government’s displeasure over such a “serious misconduct,” said, culprits found would be dismissed from service.

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Yemi-Esan, in a statement issued on Monday by Director Information, Office of the HOCSF, Mrs Olawunmi Ogunmosunle, warned against such action, exposing government documents on the social media, that it could jeopardise authentic information.

Reminding the public that official documents, in some cases, were correspondences minuted on, the HOCSF said a development like that was “unacceptable as it could turn out to be embarrassing to the government.”

Quoting from government rules, Yemi-Esan described “such irresponsible and reckless action” as an act of serious misconduct, with a penalty of dismissal from service, as provided in Public Service Rules (PSR) numbers 030401 and 030402.

Further to the official warning, Yemi-Esan said that, henceforth, any public officer found guilty of such act of serious misconduct would be severely dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the public service rules.

She, thereby, directed permanent secretaries to draw the attention of their staff to the content of the circular and the consequences of breaking the public service rules.

The statement reads: “The attention of the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation has been drawn to the recent unfortunate unauthorised disclosure of official documents on the social media.

“In some cases, official documents that have been minuted on, are also leaked. This irresponsible and reckless action is an act of serious misconduct, with a penalty of dismissal from service, as provided for in Public Service Rules Nos. 030401 and 030402.

“The ugly development is embarrassing to the government and therefore, not acceptable. Any public officer caught engaging in this act of serious misconduct, will be severely dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Public Service Rules.

“Permanent Secretaries are to draw the attention of all their staff to the contents of this circular and the consequences of breaking the rules.”