The National Industrial Court (NIC) has ruled that henceforth, directors in the Federal Civil Service, who were notionally-appointed as directors with no financial benefit, may not be retired until they compulsorily spend eight years on the post.
This followed the judgment of the Abuja division of the NIC presided over by Justice B. B. Kanyip in a suit No: NICN/ABJ/123/2011 brought before the court by Ambassador D.C.B Nwanna against the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and two others.
Prior to the judgment, some federal government establishments had started angling to force some directors in the federal civil service to retire before their actual exit date because they had been notionally promoted so that they could maintain their seniority in service.
The federal government had in a circular Ref No: HCSF 1061/S.1/III/68 dated August 26, 2009, through the former Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Stephen Orosanye entitled: â€œTenure of Office for Permanent Secretaries and Directors,â€ stated that government had approved that â€œpermanent secretaries shall hold office for a term of four years, renewable for a further term of four years, subject to satisfactory performance and no more.â€
In the case of directors, the circular was emphatic when it said â€œthey shall compulsorily retire upon serving eight years on the post.â€
But according to Justice Kanyip, â€œOne cannot be promoted to oneâ€™s disadvantage. In other words, promotion must be for ones benefit. So where a promotion is disadvantageous to the employee, is that really a promotion?â€
The trial judge posited that for the eight-year tenure policy to apply, it must be that the director has served eight years on the post since those on notional promotion do not enjoy any financial benefit from their promotion â€œand cannot be said to have been promoted to their benefit.
Consequently, Justice Kanyip held that â€œthe eight-year tenure policy applies to directors who have actually spent eight years on the post, not notionally as provided for in Rule 02810(iv)(a) of the Public Service Rules 2008.