Anger as new FIRS Chairman, sacks South-West directors, replaces them with his Nupe kinsmen
In what appeared to be a targeted compulsory sacking to achieved preconceived motive, the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Muhammad Nami, has allegedly unlawfully retired nine directors of the agency and has quickly replaced them with his kinsmen from Nupe, Niger State.
Daily Mail enquiries showed that out of the nine people compulsorily retired against directives that such should stop were seven directors from South-West while the other two are from South East Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the new appointed directors were not staff of FIRS against standard practice of promoting staff as allowed by civil service regulations.
Nami is into his sixth month on the job, after being replaced with Babatunde Fowler, whose tenure was not renewed.
It was understood the new chairman made his intention known as soon as he assumed office of axing certain categories, which deepened an uneasy calm pervading FIRS until he issued them sack letters in March.
Relying on the decision of the board in the letter he signed, Nami wrote them that, “The board of the Federal Inland Revenue Service at its emergency meeting No.2 held on March, 20, 2020, approved the retirement of all directors who have served eight years and above as directors in the service in line with Para 10: 1(a)(iii) of HRPP.
“Accordingly, you are hereby notified of your compulsory retirement from the service with immediate effect.”
The affected directors were Mr Innocent Ohagwa (Human Capital Development); Victor Ekundayo (Career and Skills Development); Mrs Kemi Odusanya (Facility); Emmanuel Obeta (Chairman’s Office); Dr Asheik Maidugu (Planning and Statistics); Chiaka Okoye (Programme Office Non-Tax); Mr Kola Okunola (ICT); Mr Olufemi Faniyi (Team Lead Tax Operations Group) and Mr Ezra Zubair (Programmes and Policy Monitoring).
The new chairman went ahead and immediately replaced them with people from his clan.
They were Director, Internal Affairs and Efficiency, Ahmed Ndannusa; Director, Communication and Liaison Department, Abdulahi Ismaila; Acting Director, Executive Chairman’s Office, Aisha Mohammed; Director, Finance and Accounts, Ahmed Musa and Special Assistant Technical to the Executive Chairman, Mustapha Ndajumo.
One of the retired directors told the Punch that there were 750 chartered accountants in the FIRS, meanwhile, “You are bringing in a contract worker as an internal auditor, when there are a lot of qualified people in the system?
“You are bringing somebody from outside as the director of finance and account, when there are many chartered accountants?
“You are bringing in people as directors of communication and chairman’s office, when there are people with the skills.
“The danger is that you are the executive chairman and you brought in your friends to man critical positions.
“You want to control the entire financial transactions of the organisation. They will take direct instruction from you without questions.
“They could collude with you to defraud the organisation. Where is transparency, accountability, integrity in these appointments?” he queried.
Another retired director told the paper that the appointments also negated the federal character policy.
“He appointed four directors as contract staff; no advertisement of the positions, nothing. No other ethnic group was represented in violation of the federal character policy. They are all his allies,” he added.
The directors lamented that they were retired “unceremoniously and illegally” despite having several years before attaining 35 years in service.
They demanded that the FIRS chairman acknowledge his wrongs and remedy the situation.
The FIRS, however, said its actions were not in defiance of the presidential directives suspending tenure policy in the Federal Civil Service.
The Director of Communications and Liaison Department, Abdullahi Ismaila, said upon enquiries that the government parastatal acted within its powers.
“The retirement of the directors by the FIRS board is in accordance with the HRPP and in public interest and to create vacancies for the existing staff of the service who have remained stagnated,” he said.
“The four directors are employed on contract basis in line with Section 2.22 of the FIRS HRPP and approved by the FIRS board,” he said.