Nigeria’s Federal Government has threatened to dismiss any civil servant caught to be leaking official memoranda and other classified documents on social media and other platforms, in breach of oath of secrecy.
The Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi Esan issued the threat in a circular dated August 2, 2021, and copied to the Chief of Staff to the President, Office of the Vice-President, Ministers, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Permanent Secretaries, Inspector General of Police, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria and the Chairmen Federal Character Commission and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, among others.
The circular- HCSF/3065/Vol.1 /94 was titled ‘Unauthorised Circulation of Official Documents/Information on Social Media’.
It read: “The attention of the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation has been drawn to the incessant unauthorised disclosure of official documents/information on social media platforms.
“The unwholesome practice involves posting/reposting of secret, confidential and classified government correspondences, policy drafts, minutes, notes, memos, etc., on social media.
“This reckless action is tantamount to a breach of the Oath of Secrecy public servants swore to, and a serious misconduct which may lead to dismissal from the service, as provided in the Public Service Rules 030401 and 030402.
“Henceforth, any officer caught posting/reporting government documents on social media and other platforms without authorisation would be severely disciplined in accordance with the provisions of the PSR.
“This circular, therefore, reinforces the earlier circular on the subject, Ref. No/ HCSF/109/S.l/120 dated May 22, 2020 and other extant regulations prohibiting unauthorised publishing of official documents.
“Permanent Secretaries and Heads/Chief Executive Officers of extra-ministerial departments are to bring the content of this circular to all staff for compliance.”
She expressed government’s dismay at the spate in which its official documents were being leaked into the public domain and threatened to apply the full provisions of the Public Service Rules 030401 and 030402 by dismissing outright those who continue with the “reckless action” and “unwholesome practice.”
The latest threat marked the time in more than a year that the Head of Service would be threatening to sanction civil servants for leakage of official documents having issued a similar circular in May last year.
Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja