Crisis is brewing in the Nigerian Correctional Services as seven serving Assistant Controller General of the institution are set to go to court to challenge their premature removal from Service.
The Officers were handed their letter of retirement with the appointment of a new Controller General, Haliru Nababa, despite having up to two years or more before the expiration of their retirement age.
The seven serving ACGs took part in the screening and examination as candidates that later produced the current Controller General.
Their sack was endorsed by the Minister of the Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who is also the Chairman of the Customs, Civil Defence, Fire Services and Immigration Services.
The Officers were allegedly summoned from various stations outside Abuja to the National Headquarters of the service, purportedly for a meeting with the Nababa, but were handed letters of voluntary retirement with effect from June 9, 2021.
The retirement letter, signed by Aisha A. Rufai of CDCFIB reads: “In view of the convention on seniority in the military and paramilitary services in respect to the newly appointed Controller-General, and in addition to other antecedents, you are hereby advised to proceed on voluntary retirement from the service with effect from 9th June 2021.”
According to sources, they were ushered into CG’s office one after the other where they were given letters of premature retirement despite the fact that all of them have upwards of two years to spend before their retirement ages.
The source said: “None of the retired officers was senior to the new CG, which is evident in the staff nominal rolls.
“For instance, there are three DCGs who were promoted with effect from January 1, 2019 and 2020, and by that are senior to the CGC, whose date of appointment is April 2021.
“Surprisingly, the DCGs were left in the service, while the seven ACGs, whose dates of promotional appointment are 1st January, 2018, were asked to retire.
“It is also curious that the letter of the retirement cited tradition in the Military and Paramilitary.
“There had never been such antecedents in NCoS.
“In 1996 when Alhaji Ibrahim Jarma, who was an ACG, was appointed CGP, he worked together with all his superior and contemporaries.
“Again, in 2002 when Abraham Akpe was appointed, he worked with all his contemporaries.
“Also, in 2006 when Olusola Ogundipe was picked from among the ACGs, he worked with his hitherto superiors.
“In 2012 when Zakari Ibrahim (DCG) was appointed, he did the same, so also Dr. Peter Ekpendu in 2014.
“Similarly, when the immediate past substantive CGP was appointed, he worked with his superior and contemporaries.
“The only senior officer to him, by name Alhaji Aminu Sulley, he wanted to retire took the matter to court and it was decided in his favour.”
After appealing for the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari; Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, to look into the matter and redress the anomaly in the interest of equity, justice and fairness, the affected officers are planning to explore the court option to right the wrong against them, according to the source.