Nigeria’s First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, who became a Permanent Secretary in the government of Bayelsa State yesterday, has been paid a salary by that State since 1999, a SaharaReporters investigation has revealed.
That was the year she transferred her employment from Rivers State to Bayelsa after her husband became the deputy governor to deposed former governor and ex-convict, DSP Alamieyeseigha.
Several sources in the state civil service, say, however, that Mrs. Jonathan has never shown up for work. Yesterday, Seriake Dickson, the Governor of Bayelsa State who was himself handpicked for that position by President Goodluck Jonathan, appointed Mrs. Jonathan Permanent Secretary in the state civil service.
One of our sources said of Mrs. Jonathan: “She is a staff of civil service, she was being paid until a biometrics was done by [former governor] Sylva. She refused to show up for verification in 2009/2010 and her salary was briefly stopped.”
The source stated that Mrs. Jonathan transferred her service from Rivers State as a director in the Ministry of Education and was considered on “on leave of absence” even in Rivers State while her husband worked at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
During the tenure of President Umaru Yar’adua, Mr. Jonathan, as Vice President, refused to declare his wife’s assets, claiming that she was a civil servant in Bayelsa State.
The promotion to Permanent Secretary accorded Mrs. Jonathan contravenes civil service rules, according to the workers in state. They described her as a ghost worker who has not put in any work to deserve a place in the civil service. Instead of the promotion, they told SaharaReporters, such a worker ought to have been sanctioned and dismissed for truancy, as well as made to refund all of the back pay she has accumulated for absconding from work.