You have no power to sack us, Cross River auditors tell governor

Cross River State Auditor General, John Odey, and his local council counterpart, Franka Inok, have said the state governor, Bassey Otu, has no power to remove them from office.
Governor Bassey Otu
Governor Bassey Otu

Cross River State Auditor General, John Odey, and his local council counterpart, Franka Inok, have said the state governor, Bassey Otu, has no power to remove them from office.
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They both stated this, yesterday, in a letter addressed to the Chairman, Civil Service Commission (CSC), Oko Inaku, stating that they will remain in service until their formal retirement age of 60 or mandatory 35 years in service.

The development followed compulsory retirement letters sent to the two Auditors-General by the governor through Inaku on Monday, directing that they vacate office.

In the letter, titled: ‘Re- Notice To Vacate Office,’ with reference number CRS/AGLG/81/Vol 11/565, the officials stated thus: “We wish to bring to your notice sections 127 of the 1999 Constitution and Section 42 of Cross River State Audit Law 2021, as amended, regarding removing an auditor-general from office.”

Speaking on the legal position of the two officials, a legal practitioner, Eteng Okposin, revealed that Article 11 of the Nigerian Constitution provides that the governor of a state has power to hire and fire officials if unsatisfied, depending on his disposition of their services.

“The governor of a state is charged with the execution of state laws alongside the responsibility of state executive officers, regulatory and judicial officers subject to the approval of the House of Assembly and can sack, dismiss, terminate the appointment of any official without consulting the state Assembly except those democratically elected.”

Okposin said the persons in question may seek redress in court if necessary.

A staff of CSC, Bright Ogbolo, noted that in 2015, the former governor of the state, Ben Ayade, dissolved all boards, agencies and commissions, including statutory ones, and when the Judicial Service Commission (NJC) instituted a matter in court against Ayade, the matter was thrown out.

It was, however, gathered that Odey and Inok have ignored the governor’s directive as they still report for duties in their offices
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