The Nigerian Government has again raised the alarm over what it described as incessant unauthorised disclosure of official documents on social media and other platforms.
It has therefore threatened to dismiss officials caught doing so.
The warning was made in a circular signed by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Folasade Yemi-Esan, dated Monday, August 2, 2021.
The circular, titled ‘Unauthorised circulation of official documents/information on social media’ was marked HCSF/3065/Vol.1 /94.
The warning by the HOCSF is the second in a year as a similar circular was issued in May 2020.
In the fresh circular, Yemi-Esan said her office would be relying on the provisions of the Public Service Rules 030401 and 030402 in dismissing those who continue in what she described as the “reckless action” and “unwholesome practice.”
The circular 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 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.”
SaharaReporters had earlier reported how the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar had, last Tuesday asked staff members to take oaths of secrecy while threatening whoever is found guilty of leaking inside information with stiff penalties.
It came a few days after SaharaReporters exclusively reported how President Muhammadu Buhari secretly planned to visit the United Kingdom to avoid rampage or any “embarrassing protest” against him.
Umar said staff members who disclose confidential information without authorisation will face penalties under the public service rules.
The Permanent Secretary stated this at the administration of Oath of Secrecy and Declaration of Secrecy to 42 staff members of the State House.
The Oath of Secrecy was administered by Justice Hamza Muazu of the Federal Capital Territory High Court.
According to Umar, the oaths were administered to staff members who handle classified documents.
‘‘We discovered that due to deployment of officers and retirement, a number of our staff need to be placed under the radar so that they will be aware that their jobs, the kind of documents or information they are handling from day to day and beyond, are so important and must be safeguarded.
‘‘That’s the reason we decided to do the needful by administering the Oath of Secrecy, highlighting the importance of letting them know what information they are managing and the consequences of the breach of such information,’’ he said.