Buhari has constitutional backing to retain Idris as AGF after 60 years – Ngige

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Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has said President did violate any law by reappointing Mr Ahmed Idris as the Accountant- of the (AGF).

There have been grumblings from different quarters, especially from the Labour unions, over the refusal of Idris to vacate the Office of the Accountant- of the , despite the he clocked the statutory age of 60 years November 2020.

President Buhari had reappointed Idris as the AGF June 2019, for a second four-year term the office.

However, addressing State Correspondents after a meeting with President Buhari the Aso Rock Presidential Villa on Friday, Dr Ngige said the President exercised his Constitutional powers retaining Idris office after clocking age of 60 years.

According to him, Section 171 of the Constitution empowers the President to discretion in appointing persons in to some extra-ministerial offices, adding the same Constitution spelled the offices in the category, to which the Office of the Accountant- of the fell.

“There are other issues, all related to labour again, which I have to seek further from Mr. President, like the reappointment of the Accountant General of the Federation, which the Trade Union Congress and the affiliate, Association of Senior Civil Servants, have drawn our attention to the having clocked 60 years, the man should exit.

“We have had two meetings on that and I have educated them that the 1999 Constitution, the supreme law of the land, is the grand norm, all other laws rose from it and any law that is in conflict with the provisions of the constitution doesn’t stand, it’s struck down.

“Therefore Mr. President has exercised his powers Section 171 of 1999 Constitution as amended in reappointing Mr. Ahmed Idris with effect from June 25, 2019, even today. So the man has a tenure of four years which by terms of appointment elapse June 2023,” he said.

Asked if it was a constitutional provision that once a career civil servant reaches the age of 60 years, the person should exit from , he said, “I have made it clear that the issue of Accountant General of the Federation is a constitutional issue, the appointment is predicated on Section 171 of the Constitution of 1999, as amended. That Section is an omnibus section that grants the President powers to appoint those he thinks that he can work with and those offices were so listed.

“Offices in the public of the Federation, heads of extra-ministerial departments or agencies, matter whatever name so-called or so termed, also permanent secretaries, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, ambassadors and high commissioners and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation is part of the extra ministerial department.

“When those appointments are made and you are serving there and the President feels he can work with you, 171 protects him because he is not working for himself, he is working for the nation and he has to get the best of hands, trusted persons.

“So the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation is a sensitive position that deals with financial issues and he feels, and very rightly too, that this is the man that has been there, he is doing a good work and he wants to continue with him.

“I have explained this to the labour people, Trade Union Congress and the Association of Senior Civil Servants, we held a meeting yesterday and last Monday, I will continue because that is part of social dialogue, next week we will meet again because they requested for documents which I made available to them, documents on the appointments and the documents to show them the area of the Constitution that the powers were so derived from, they will have all,” Ngige explained.