Head of Service of the Federation directs civil servants from grade level 14 and above to resume work but from the records only non-essential workers from grade level, 12 and below have been at home since 24th March.
In compliance with President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise to ease lockdown gradually from Monday May 1, senior civil servants of grade level 14 and above, and those on essential duties, are to resume duty on Monday.
According to a circular issued Thursday, titled: PARTIAL RESUMPTION OF DUTIES BY OFFICERS ON GRADE LEVEL 14 AND ABOVE AND THOSE ON ESSENTIAL DUTIES, signed by Folasade Yemi-Esan, head of service of the Federation, they would resume 8.00am and close 2.00pm and work for three days weekly – Monday, Tuesday and Friday.
“Further to Mr. President’s broadcast on a phased and gradual easing of the lockdown measures occasioned by COVID-19, officers on GL. 14 and above and those on essential services are hereby directed to resume work with effect from Monday 4th May, 2020, in the first instance.
“Offices are to open three times a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday – and close at 2.00pm on each day.
“In resuming, the concerned officers are to ensure full compliance with the directives and advice on the COVID-19 pandemic preventive measures including maintenance of social distancing, regular washing and/ or sanitizing of hands and wearing of face masks. Officers are advised to limit the number of visitors they receive to the barest minimum and such visitors should also comply with safety and health advice/directives.”
She informed workers that “the Federal Secretariat Complexes have been decontaminated while efforts are ongoing to do same in other public offices.”
And, “To further support the efforts to check the spread of the virus, Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executive Officers are to ensure that hand washing and sanitation facilities are placed at entrances and strategic points in their MDAs. They are also to ensure that, as much as practicable, entrance to the MDAs is limited to only one. It is equally important that infrared thermometers are provided at the entrance for compulsory temperature checks.”
It appears that the new directive does not change much. On 23 March Yemi-Esan had signed a circular directing all civil servants from level 12 downwards except those deemed essential staff by their permanent secretaries to stay at home from 24th March till further notice. In other words, what the new directive actually does is to add grade level 13 to the list of those at home.
Excerpts from the 23rd March circular states:
“COMPULSORY STAY AT HOME OF NON-ESSENTIAL PUBLIC SERVANTS ON GRADE LEVELS 12 AND BELOW AS A FURTHER MEASURE TO CURTAIL THE SPREAD OF COVID – 19
As you are no doubt aware, the Federal Government has taken a number of measures to manage the identified cases of COVID – 19 and curtail its spread. Government is concerned about the welfare and safety of all public servants just as it is about other Nigerians. All public servants are, therefore, strongly advised to follow the measures being put in place by government to curtail the spread of the pandemic.
As a further step to check the spread of COVID – 19 all non-essential public servants on grade levels 12 and below are to stay and work from home with effect from Tuesday 24th March, 2020 until further notice. Each Permanent Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of MDAs shall determine the essential staff within grade levels 12 and below who will continue to perform their duties in the office. It is important to stress that this is not a holiday, as any officer can be recalled; therefore, no officer should travel out of station.”
What this circular suggests is that grade level 13 and above and those seen as essential service have been on duty throughout the lockdown. If this is the case has Mr President really done anything new?