Oyo-Ita: Security beefed up around HOCSF’s office

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Security was on Thursday beefed up around the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation barely 12 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari directed the former HOCSF, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, to proceed on an indefinite leave.

Buhari had on Wednesday asked the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Folasade Yemi-Esan, to take over in acting capacity while Oyo-Ita proceeded on the indefinite leave to allow conclusion of the investigation being carried out by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Our correspondent observed that security was beefed up around the office on Thursday by a combined team of policemen, officials of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and those of the Nigeria Legion.

The office is located inside the Federal Secretariat Complex, Phase II on Shehu Shagari Way in the Three Arms Zone of the Federal Capital Territory.

All members of staff were made to hang their identity cards for easy identification before they were allowed to gain access on the premises.

Unlike before now that members of staff and visitors always make use of the same gate to access the compound, visitors were on Thursday directed to use Gate 5 while members of staff made use of the other gate.

After proper identification and disclosure of purposes of visit, visitors were allowed in and directed to a glass cubicle where they would write their names, telephone numbers, office to be visited, as well as time of arrival before being allowed into the building.

At the point of leaving the premises, visitors were also asked to sign out.

As of the last time our correspondent visited (Monday), such arrangement was not in place.

Meanwhile, following The PUNCH’s report, “Federal secretariat: Civil servants’ ordeal with filth, waste, decay,” published on Tuesday, our correspondent noticed on Thursday that some toilet rooms that had hitherto remained under lock were open.

Our correspondent saw some cleaners cleaning up a particular toilet located opposite the staff canteen, with stench oozing out from there.

It was further noticed that the dirty, open drain, which our correspondent noticed on Monday in front of the canteen, had been covered up.

The PUNCH had reported that facilities at the federal secretariat complex were in a deplorable state.

The state of the complex’s toilets and elevators was among those highlighted in the report.

Meanwhile, reacting to Oyo-Ita’s replacement on Thursday, the Buhari Media Organisation said it was a demonstration that there would be sacred cow in Buhari’s fight against corruption.

According to the group, the decision to relieve Oyo-Ita of her position as the HoSF was another proof that this government would not allow people with questions to answer to remain in office longer than necessary.

The BMO, in a statement by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju, and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, said the action would send a clear signal to public office holders that under Buhari there would be consequences for misdemeanors.

The statement said, “This is another sign of the President‘s zero-tolerance for acts such as that which Mrs Oyo-Ita is being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.”

Upon resuming for duty on Thursday, the new HoSF, Yemi-Esan, promised to build on the achievements of her predecessor, Oyo-Ita.

She also appealed that the staff should extend to her the cooperation and support given to her predecessor.

A statement by the Director of Information in the OHCSF, Olawunmi Ogunmosunle, said Yemi-Esan resumed work by 6.40pm on Thursday.

“There is no reinventing the wheel. I will only build on the sound foundation and structure which she (Oyo-Iya) has left behind because government is a continuum,” the new HoSF was quoted to have said.

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