Home News Cross River: State, Local Govt Auditor Generals Reject Compulsory Retirement, Dare Governor

Cross River: State, Local Govt Auditor Generals Reject Compulsory Retirement, Dare Governor

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By Magnus Effiong

Cross River may soon witness an interesting show of strength between the State government and the sacked State Auditor General, Mr John Odey, and his local government counterpart, Mrs Franka Inok, even as the duo rejected Governor Bassey Otu’s directives to them to proceed on compulsory retirement. They claimed the Governor has no such powers.

Checks indicated that despite the Governor’s directives, the two officials were still reporting for duties in their offices, insisting that their services would last until their formal retirement age.

Their position was contained in a letter addressed to the Chairman Civil Service Commission, Mr Oko Inaku, who conveyed the Governor’s directives to the two officials.

In the letter titled: “Re – Notice to vacate Office”,  with reference number CRS/AGLG/81/Vol 11/565, the officials stated thus: “We wish to bring to your notice sections 127 of the 1999 Constitution and Section 42 of the Cross River State Audit Law number 2021 as amended regarding the removal from office of the Auditor General”

They claim that they can only be retired after the attainment of the age of sixty years or mandatory thirty five  years of service and queried why the governor should direct them to vacate office when they are yet to attain the prescribed years of service or age.

Speaking on the controversy, a lawyer, Eteng Okposin, said Article 11 of the Nigerian Constitution vests  Executive  powers on the Governor in a state to hire and fire officials depending on his disposition of their service if unsatisfied.

“The governor of a State is charged with the execution of State laws alongside the responsibility of State executive officers, regulatory and judicial officers subject to the approval of the House of Assembly and can sack, dismiss, terminate the appointment of any official without consulting the State House of Assembly except those democratically elected,” he submitted 

He advised the two officials to head to court rather than continue to defy the governors directives.

Throwing light on the matter, a staff of the Civil Service Commission, Bright Ogbolo, explained that in 2015, Senator Ben Ayade, former governor of the State, dissolved all the boards, agencies and commissions, including statutory ones “and when the Judicial Service Commission instituted a matter in Court against the governor, the matter was thrown out”

Efforts to speak with the two officials on whether or not they would approach the court over the matter did not sail through as their telephone lines did not connect as at press time.

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