Civil servants in Abuja on Wednesday resumed official duties after a two-day public Holidays declared by the Federal Government for Sallah.
Nigeria News Agency correspondent , who monitored workers resumption at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, reports that there were low activities in some offices as many workers had not resumed while others recorded high attendant at the secretariat.
Some civil servants, who spoke with NAN, said they had their good times meeting with friends and some family members during the break period for Sallah.
Some of them explained that the low resumption could be traced to lack of fund to come back to Abuja.
Most of the civil servants that are yet to resume work may have spent all they have for the celebration and may not have money to come to the office.
Mrs Tabo Francis, a staff at the Ministry of Women Affairs, said from her observation that numbers of civil servants who have resumed were a bit fewer.
She, however, said some might still be coming to work after some moment.
“To me from the level of numbers that I have seen is a bit few. The number of people is not like the normal working days before the holidays.
“It could be some may come in latter or some of us are yet to come back from home, but at the same time, we have to appreciate God for seeing us throughout the break, “ she said.
Francis as a word of advice, challenged other workers who were yet to resume to start coming to work, saying the two days holidays were enough to rest and celebrate.
Also, Mr Aliyu Maidoki, a civil servant, expressed gratitude to God for the peaceful Sallah break he had without a serious insecurity reports across the nation`s capital and other parts of the country.
Maidoki attributed the efforts to the strategies adopted by the security agencies, he also prayed for such peaceful situation in all festivities in the country at any given time.
He, however, decried that he had a low key Sallah due to economic hardship experiencing in the country, saying that it might also contributed to low resumption to work after the celebration.
“To me there should have been something motivational to workers in all celebrations period, be it Christmas, Easter or any Sallah.
“Let`s be candid with ourselves, our government is not treating workers very well, and some of this could also contribute to our low performance in our service delivery.
“I pray government should also have a special budget for workers in time like this.
“This will be so encouraging even when salaries do not come on time, you could be hopeful that other incentives will come during any celebration time, “ he said.
According to him, if the minimum wage agreed upon had been implemented, it would have gone a long way to mitigate some financial challenges faced by civil servants in the country.
While expressing readiness to put his best in his services, Maidoki appealed to the federal government for other incentives to encourage the workers across board.
Mr Innocent Peter, who works in Ministry of Communication, said a lot of workers in his office have resumed except few who are on leave.
Peter, who corroborate Maidoki, said most workers might be stranded for lack of fund to travel back to work on time from where they went for the Sallah.
Mrs Christy Okon, who works in Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, said all the members of staff in her office have fully resumed.
“Although, I have not gone out to see other offices, but here in the Head of Service office we have all resumed work, “ she said.
NAN observed that some of the Muslim faithful were shearing sallah meat with some of their colleagues in some offices.
NAN also observed that in spite of the perceived economic hardship as complained by he people, the roads and motor parks were busy with holiday makers just returning to Abuja after travelling to spend the holidays with family and friends.
SGF tasks ministers` designate on consistent harmonious working relationship with Buhari
The ministers` designate have been urged to maintain harmonious working relationship with the presidency to enable the administration fulfill its promise of taking Nigeria to the next level.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, made the call a two-day induction programme organised for the ministers` designate and other top government officials in Abuja on Monday.
Mustapha explained that the task of governance required patience, dedication and total commitment to the objectives of government especially in realisation of the yearnings for quick delivery of the dividends of democracy.
According to him, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has in the last four years done a lot to revamp the economy, achieve a corruption free society and provide adequate security for the people.
Mustapha stated that Buhari had laid foundation while taking bold steps in transforming the country and liberating Nigerians from the shackles of poverty, hence, the need for collaboration to achieve more of such dividends.
“We must ensure a consistent harmonious work relationship to serve responsibly, transparent in our conducts and accountable to the people we serve, if this administration must fulfill its promise of taking Nigeria to the next level.
“The tasks ahead of us are to consolidate on the gains of the last four years of the administration, identify the remaining areas that need to be addressed and remain committed to improving the lives of Nigerians.
“This could be possible by confronting the emerging challenges in the country, ranging from the issue of climate change, resettling displaced communities, and dealing decisively with the new flashes of insecurity across the country,“ he said.
He stressed the need for those given office of responsibility in government to live above board, eschewing every conduct, private or public, that could tarnish the good image of the administration.
“We must also reconcile with ourselves that the next four years of our lives would be effectively and efficiently dedicated to the service of our fatherland’’.
Mustapha also advised the ministers designate not be discouraged by the enormous challenges facing the country, adding that they should see their appointments as an opportunity to contribute positively on the citizens.
“I therefore urge all of us to prepare our minds and be ready to support Mr President’s commitment to transforming Nigeria through the vehicle of efficient and effective public service delivery.
Buhari tasks Ministers-designate on nation’s challenges
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday challenged Ministers-designate to reflect and assess the country’s position in 2015 and now so as to chart a course for the country for the foreseeable future.
The president gave the task when he declared open the two-day Presidential Retreat for Ministers-designate and Federal Permanent Secretaries at the State House conference hall, Abuja.
He explained that the purpose of the retreat was, among others, to familiarise the in-coming ministers with their colleagues at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) with whom they would work closely for the next four years.
President Buhari reminded the ministers-designate that they were appointed to assist and advise him on running the country efficiently.
“I congratulate all the new comers who the country has chosen above others to join the first term ministers whose performance has been outstanding.
“All of you are appointed to assist and advise the president in running the affairs of our country.
“At the end of the retreat, it is hoped that all of you will be in tune with the roles and responsibilities of positions you will occupy in government. Many national issues require unified decisions.
“It is a great privilege for you to be called upon to serve in these geat offices of state and you must grasp the chance with two hands and put in your best efforts as Nigeria today needs top managers to handle our numerous challenges.
“There will be long hours and you must be prepared to live laborious days if we are to serve our people optimally,’’ he said.
The president, who also spoke on the looming demographic potential of the country, charged the in-coming ministers to join hands in finding solution to the frightening threat of population explosion of the country.
He said: “By average estimates, our population is close to 200 million today. By 2050, UN estimates put Nigeria third globally, behind only India and China with our projected population at 411 million.
“This is a frightening prospect but only if we sit idly by and expect handouts from so-called development partners. The solution to our problems lies within us.’’
President Buhari told them that the first term of his administration had identified three salient areas for close attention and action – to secure the country, to improve the economy and to fight corruption.
“None but the most partisan will dispute that we have made headway in all three areas
“First, we have rolled back the frontiers of terrorism; we are actively addressing other challenges such as kidnappings, farmer-herder violence, improving the safety of our roads, railways, air traffic and fire control capacities.
“Second, we are steadily turning the economy round through investment in agriculture and manufacturing, shoring up our foreign reserves, curbing inflation and improving the country’s infrastructure.
“Third, we have recovered hundreds of billions of stolen assets and are actively pursuing control measures to tackle leakages in public resources. We will not let up in fighting corruption,’’ he said.
He told them that he would rely on them, his advisers and Nigerians willing and able to contribute to the administration’s policies, programmes and projects to lift the bulk of the citizens out of poverty and set them on the road to prosperity.
According to him, his administration’s eight years will have laid the ground for lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
“This outcome will fundamentally shift Nigeria’s trajectory and place us among the world’s great nations,’’ he added..
He told them that as ministers, they would be responsible for the development and implementation of policies, programmes and projects in their various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in line with government priorities.
According to the president, the ministers must also ensure that agencies under their ministries are effective, efficient and accountable in the discharge of their responsibilities.
“Honourable Ministers-designate, we must work as a team. Although you have been chosen to represent your states as a constitutional imperative, it is vital for all of you to work as Nigerians.
“Also, working as a team demands that we know what the next person is doing. You must open communications with your colleagues. Lack of communication leads to lack of cooperation and sub-optimal performance.
“Finally, although this is called a retreat, I would like to think this is a preparation for an advance to the next level,’’ he further said.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, said the two-day presidential retreat was meant to be in sync with the policy direction of government, and contribute to the attainment of the next level goals.
“The objective of this retreat is to prepare the new Cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari’s second tenure, having been chosen to drive and coordinate the affairs and activities of the various socio-economic and political spheres of our nation.
“This assembly will afford participants the opportunity to familiarise themselves with their roles and responsibilities as cabinet ministers, an understanding that will help to shape and streamline efforts towards achieving the delivery of dividends of democraca,’’ he said.
He expressed hope that the outcome of the retreat would set a strategic agenda which would define the course of action for the next four years of the Buhari administration.
Mustapha added that it was meant to set achievable targets and identify basic strategic options that would assist the new cabinet realise the goals for which the administration was elected to achieve.
Buhari presides over Presidential Retreat for Ministers-designate, Perm. Secretaries
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday in Abuja presided over 2-day Presidential Retreat with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, some State Governors and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha in attendance.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the event was being attended by all the Ministers-designate as well as Permanent Secretaries and heads of Federal Government agencies and departments.
NAN, however, observed that the Head of Service, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, who has been listed as one of the resource persons at the retreat was conspicuously absent at the venue of the event.
Oyo-Ita was reported to be on medical leave after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) quizzed her over an alleged contract scam to the tune of N3 billion.
NAN also observed that acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, would be presenting paper on anti-corruption efforts of the Buhari administration at the retreat later today.
Edited by Felix Ajide
Amaechi gets highest Catholic Knight’s promotion
Former Minister of Transportation and current nominee, Rotimi Amaechi, has been promoted to the highest rank in the Catholic Church under the order of the Knights of St. John.
Mr Israel Ibeleme, his media Aide, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
He said Amaechi was conferred with the Exemplification honour of the knights of St. John from Grand Master, Nigerian Temple Noble and Exalted Knights of the Holy Cross Knight of St. John International.
Ibeleme said the former minister was conferred with the honour for his service to the Order and humanity for over 20 years at the Pope John Paul II Catholic Centre in Abuja.
He quoted Monsignor Kenneth Enang, in charge of the Pope John II Catholic Centre, as saying that the promotion was premised on Amaechi’s support toward the growth of the Catholic church.
“We want to thank you Knights of St John’s, all the other knights, college of knights for the work you are doing for the church.
“For the support we get from the Knights in many areas not only the financial support but the moral support.
”The Knights built the seminary we have now at Kuje when cardinal Ekandem Dominic was alive and many of the Knights have built churches and handed over to the church.
“We ask God to bless you and your good works and let your labours not be in vain,” Enang was quoted as saying.
According to Ibeleme, the former minister, while accepting the honour, expressed joy for the promotion.
He said Amaechi also thanked the leaders and grandmaster of the Knight for considering him and his friends worthy of the promotion.
Daily Trust invites nomination for African of the Year Award
DAILY TRUST, an Abuja-based private media outfit, has called for nomination of exemplary personalities for its coveted African of the Year 2019 award.
The media outfit, in a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja, said that the nominations would begin on Monday, August 19, and close on October 18, 2019.
Dan-Ali said that valid entries for the 2019 award would be for works, events or activities undertaken by the nominee between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019.
According to him, nominations are to be made online at award.dailytrust.com.
“The eventual winner will be selected by a seven-member prize committee chaired by Mr Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana.
“Other members of the committee, who represent Africa’s regional blocs are Ambassador Mona Omar (North Africa), Mr Amadou Mahtar Ba (West Africa), Ms. Gwen Lister (Southern Africa), and Mr Pascal Kambale (Central Africa).
Also on the committee is Prof. Sylvia Tamale, representing East Africa, while Mr Kabir Yusuf, Chairman of the Board of Media Trust Limited, is to represent the award promoters.
Recalling that the award was in its 12th edition, Dan-Ali said that the African of the Year Award was inaugurated in 2008 by DAILY TRUST in fulfilment of the newspaper’s commitment to African unity and sustainable development across the continent.
“With this annual award, the newspaper hopes to entrench the culture of selflessness among Africans with the aim of creating a pool of role-models for others to emulate,” Dan-Ali said.
He also recalled that the maiden award was presented to a Congolese gynaecologist, Dr. Denis Mukwege, in recognition of his exemplary humanitarian offer of free reconstructive surgery to victims of rape in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC.
Mukwege won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018, 10 years after DAILY TRUST recognised his remarkable humanitarian gesture.
Last year’s award went to five Kenyan Girls – Stacy Owino, Purity Achieng, Ivy Akinyi, Synthia Otieno and Macrine Atieno – for developing a mobile application that is used in helping to tackle Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).