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C’Riverians breathe fresh air as new Head of Service promises to overhaul the state’s civil service

By Kadiri Abraham, Ayade Advocate Reporting

Earlier today, Wednesday – February 10, 2021, the newly appointed Head of Service, Cross River State, Mrs Geraldine Akpet Ekanem, had a chat with the famous Dr. Groove, General Manager, Cross River Broadcasting Corporation (CRBC), in the latter’s office.

Recall that the Governor, Senator Prof. Ben Ayade had directed the Head of Service to flush out ghost workers, in his address, during the swearing-in exercise held on Tuesday in Calabar, where the Governor promised Mrs Ekanem pledged his total support. In his speech, the Governor was very much concerned about the mounting concurrent increment in the state pension and salary payment, which to him remains mysterious. Governor Ayade, therefore, called for investigation, tasking the new Head of Service to use her professional and educational background as a trained lawyer and self-discipline from the heritage of a decent family to check the level of manipulation on the payroll system as well as see how impress, which has remained a major concerned, could be retired to the MDAs. The Governor also spoke on the punctuality of staff.
In her usual characteristically disciplined deportment, the Head of Service, in the course of the interview opened the chat with a call on the state’s civil servant to feel free to report cases of ghost workers, stating that she would treat such information with utmost confidentiality. She sternly warned civil servants who do not stay at their duty post and those collecting double salaries from the state coffers to be wary and to desist from such act, stressing that she will, in no distant time, embark on personnel audit as well as on-the-spot checks to fish out workers who have been playing truancy at work.

“I want to appeal to civil servants or workers to come forward with any information about ghost workers. Such information will be treated with strictest confidentiality. And again, we are going out on another personnel audit exercise which I want to urge civil servants to take seriously,” she said.

Asked on what the civil servants should expect from her, she said she wants civil servant to take their jobs seriously and be at their duty posts at all times, stop collecting salaries as both civil servant and as appointees, adding that some stay in Abuja and are on Cross River payroll. Besides, on the issue of an alleged existing cartel in the state that is manipulating the payroll system, she said she will, by God’s grace, deal with the issue decisively.
On the issue of impress, which the iron lady stated that it is the responsibility of the Heads of Accountant of Departments of Agencies to do proper follow-up to ensure that their impress for the month is retired.

With this readiness on the part of the Head of Service, it is apparent she is ready to overhaul the state civil service, make it functional and institute the bureaucratic mechanisms needed in the state. From His Excellency, Governor Ayade’s speech, it is obvious he repose much confidence in Mrs Ekanem, the new Head of Service.


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