FRSC: Gridlock over tenure limit- Peter Oworu

FRSC Boss, Boboye Oyeyemi

The FRSC is currently embroiled in a management gridlock as the tenure of its Corps Marshal nears its end without commencement of transitional process by the 60-year-old Corps Marshal whose retirement takes effect from November 26, 2020.

Tension has been mounting in the hierarchy of the Corps triggered by strong speculations that the Corps Marshal has been pulling strings in high places for an extension of his tenure beyond regulations stipulation of .mandatory retirement age of 60.

The media is awash with claims and counterclaims on the proprietary of the Corps Marshal’s alleged sit tight ambitions, but I’ve followed the debate with keen interest and as a citizen of this great country who is interested in good governance and respect for due process, I felt compelled to express my opinion on this topical issue based on the various laws, rules and regulations that govern and regulate the appointment and tenure of public officers as provided for in the constitution, FRSC Establishment Act, the Public Service Rules, the approved FRSC condition of service and extant circulars.

The FRSC is a creation of law established by Act of Parliament as FRSC Establishment Act 2007. Section 17(1) of the act states thus:

“The service by a member of the Corps under this Act shall be deemed to be public service of the federation within the provision of section 318(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”. It, therefore, follows that the FRSC is bound by the provision of the public service rules which is a set of gazetted rules guiding the running of all public institutions.

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The Public Service Rules (PSR) have clearly defined how long a public servant who is a career staff and on permanent and pensionable appointment may remain in the service. PSR provides as follows:

The compulsory retirement age for all grades in the service shall be 60 years or 35 years of pensionable service whichever is earlier.

Furthermore, PSR020810 states as follows.

(ii) No officer shall be allowed to remain in service after attaining the retirement age of 60 years or 35 years of pensionable service whichever is earlier.

Corps Marshal Boboyi  Oyeyemi is currently on permanent and pensionable appointment and I stand to be corrected on this assertion.

The circular issued by the office of the Head of the Civil Service Federation addressed to all Heads of agencies of the Federation including Service Chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police with the following reference HCFS|EMS||FIR|B.63694|IV|T2|96 of 27th July 2019 Titled, INTERPRETATION OF PUBLIC SERVICE RULES ON COMPULSORY RETIREMENT AGE/YEARS OF SERVICE IN RELATION TO TENURED APPOINTMENT OF SERVING PUBLIC OFFICERS states in Paragraph (2)

“For the avoidance of doubt and in order to maintain discipline and integrity of the public service, extant public service rule which prescribes 60 years of age or 35 years of service for mandatory retirement, should strictly be complied with. Accordingly, the following guidelines shall apply.

‘’That career officers who wish to take up tenured appointment should at the point of taking up the appointment retire from service to ensure they run their term uninterrupted.

‘’That career officers who have not retired from service, before the commencement of their tenured appointment must leave office on the attainment of mandatory age/years of service for retirement and

‘’That Career officers who are currently holding tenured appointment are required to retire from service with immediate effect and continue to run their term. Failure to do so would mean that they would vacate office on attaining the mandatory age or at the expiration of their term whichever comes first.

From a careful analysis of the above (II) and (III) it is obvious they are applicable to Mr Boboyi who will attain the age of 60 years mandatory retirement for career officers on permanent and pensionable appointment on 26th November 2020.

From the above it can be deducted there is nothing wrong in giving Mr Boboyi four year tenure appointment however being a career officer he should disengage from public service on attainment of the age of 60 years irrespective of whether he has run his tenure out or not.

The appointment of FRSC Corps Marshal is mentioned in the FRSC Act 2007. First in section 1(2)(b) whereby virtue of his position is also a member of the commission. Section 2(1) provides only a single term for a period of 4 years. There is no provision for the second term. One can therefore conclude based on the section that the second term Mr Boboyi is trying to run now is not provided for in the FRSC Act.

The second in section 7(1) where there is no provision for a tenured appointment implies that the Corps Marshal should vacate office on attaining the age of 60 years or 35 years in service whichever comes first.

Only recently Mr Boboyi had cause to compel two top-ranking officers, Assistant Corps Marshal Omiyale Ayobami and Corps Command Frank Okwueze to retire based on investigations he conducted and discovered they are over 60 years of age.

The FRSC approved conditions of service 2007 provide as follows in section 12.2a “Retirement is at the age of 60 years or at 35 years of service whichever comes first “.

So with the analysis above one wonders what the gridlock is all about. The rules are clear, explicit and without ambiguity. Only recently the Auditor General of the Federation honorably retired on attainment of age of 60 years. Permanent Secretaries and career ambassadors retire at 60 years, some with even one or two years into their appointment on attainment of the age of 60 years.

Only recently, Mr President lamented on the pervasive corruption plaguing all strata of the public service. There is no corruption more than for public officers to manipulate extant laws and regulations to perpetuate themselves in office. This is one area Mr President should also focus attention to achieve his laudable objective of getting rid of all forms of corruption in Nigeria.

In concluding this piece Mr Boboyi should follow the path of honour after enjoying the grace of Mr President to serve for six and the half years as the Corps Marshal of the FRSC, to gracefully bow out on 26/11/2020 on attaining the age of 60 years.

It is important to note any action The Corps Marshal would have taken from 26th November 2020 as Corps Marshal is illegal and any emoluments he received he must refund such to the coffers of the federal government.

Oworu, a public commentator write from Benin

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