Tenure elongation crisis rocks Federal Road Safety Corps

FRSC Corps Marshal, Dauda Biu
FRSC Corps Marshal, Dauda Biu

By ABDUL JELIL ADEBAYO –

With last week pronouncement by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan on the revised Public Service Rules, PSR, struggles for who takes over as the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has set in.

Various groups have emerged in the Commission, with everyone singing different tones: while one is asking that Dauda Biu, the incumbent Corps Marshal, has not breached the PSR, some insinuate with conviction that he has ran foul of the rules and should honourably retire and allow progression in the Commission.

Already those sympathetic to Biu are insisting that he could still go for a second term if he so desired, which they submitted, he was qualified for.

But those who felt he has had a fair share in the Commission argued he has over stayed his relevance.

They based their submission on four legs of arguments which include the recently revised Public Service Rules stipulating that any civil servant that has obtained the statutory 60 years in service should retire.

Those opposed to his continued stay as Corps Marshal are saying that he clocked 60 years last year and as such ought to quit the stage by now.

Secondly, they also noted that he ought to retire by October this year which marks the end of his tenure of four years as Corps Marshal.

Not done yet, they also submitted that Biu has been the director of Admin. and Finance, in the Commission for 12 years running before being elevated to his present position.

According to the circular, which they hinge their submission on, Dr. Yemi-Esan advised those who fell short of the law to ensure compliance across the Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

The Revised Public Service Rules has in its provisions, tenure system for Permanent Secretaries who shall hold office for a term of four years and another renewable term based only on satisfactory performance.

Also in the revised rule, a Director (GL 17) or its equivalent as may be prescribed by other MDAs shall compulsorily retire upon the attainment of eight years in that position.

The circular dated July 27, 2023 called on Permanent Secretaries, Accountant-General of the Federation, Auditor-General for the Federation, and Heads of Extra-Ministerial Department to ensure compliance.

The public Service Rules number 020810 specifies that career appointees must terminate their service after 35 years in service or 60 years of age whichever one comes first.

By this no fewer than 500 directors are expected to retire based on the revised Rules including of course the incumbent Corps Marshal.

With this development, those agitating for a new Corps Marshal are calling on the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, to do the needful.

Already about four senior officers who felt they are qualified to take over from him are already jostling for the replacement of Biu, urging him to pave way for progression within the system.

They are therefore appealing to the Federal Government to do the needful and direct Biu to proceed on retirement leave with immediate effect.

But those supporting the extension of his tenure are claiming that his position was political and not based on civil service rules, so he has to spend 8 years as the Corps Marshal.

They are basing their submission on an antecedent in which the former Corps Marshal violated public service rule and retired at the age of 62, therefore Biu could fall into ‘an established precedence’ and therefore is entitled to another 8 years in service; they said.

However, those clamouring for his removal further pointed out that Biu was a Director of Finance under Osita Chidoka for four (4) years. He also served for another 8 years under Boboye Oyeyemi in the same directorate, cumulating into 12 years as Director of Finance in FRSC.

Interestingly Biu clocked 60 years last year and would have served 35 years by October 2023. The argument that Biu is entitled to another 8 years of public service career presupposes that he would serve for 20 years as a Director.

Those against the continued presence of Biu as the helmsman of FRSC wondered that after serving for 12 years already as a Director, was he still qualified to remain in office not minding his hiding under ‘an established precedence’?

The question is which provision of the PSR validates such a precedence?

They are therefore calling on the Government to evoke the necessary public service rules and direct Dauda Biu to proceed on terminal leave with immediate effect.

This, they believed will pave way for the appointment of a substantive Corps Marshal that will provide the needed leadership to reduce crashes and deaths on the roads.

According to an insider, while Biu is fighting tooth and nail for extension of service, Road Safety programmes continue to deteriorate. For example, it was revealed that machines and equipments of drivers license have become obsolete and prone to consistent breakdowns.

Some insiders said he has not considered it necessary to review the amount of money allocated for fueling patrol vehicles despite the increase in petrol pump price. As a result, there is an alleged increase in bribe-taking as the road marshals are forced to source for fuel by themselves while on the highway.

Staff morale is also said to be very low as nobody knows the direction of the FRSC leadership as power struggle has taken the centre stage in the commission.

More troubling according to sources within, he is alleged to be under EFCC investigation since 2021 for “massive looting staff welfare benefits such as transfer allowances, operational bonuses and siphoning of funds from drivers license and number plates accounts of the Federal govt.”

In a letter to Biu by EFCC dated October 26th, 2021 with reference number CR/3000/EFCC/CM/LPFS/TA/277-2021/VOL8 and signed by Ofen-Imu Atiba Sunday, the Zonal Commander in Gombe he was asked to show evidence of how the grants received from the World Bank and to show details of expenditure of the grants among other charges.

The EFCC query, according to the zonal commander was made pursuant to section 38 of EFCC {Amendment Act} 2004. The investigation is said to be hanging.

Meanwhile, on 3rd August this year, a memo from the Federal Ministry of Finance signed by Mariya A.D Rufai said all those affected should submit their retirement leave letter in accordance with section 020909 of the revised PSR.

All eyes are currently on FRSC to see whether Biu goes or remains.

Abdul writes from Abuja via abduljelil2001@gmail.com

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