Isa Yuguda, the Bauchi State governor, deserves to be on Guinness Book of Record for being the first known governor in the entire world to dismiss a civil servant over sharing a post on Facebook. This inglorious record was set yesterday, Monday 19 November, when Abbas who was until then on suspension formally received a termination letter from the office of the Head of Service.
The letter read thus: TERMINATION OF APPOINTMENT
I am directed to refer to the civil service commission’s letter No. CSC/PRO/S/001/T.V dated 1st November 2012 to convey the commission’s approval of your suspension and termination of appointment from Bauchi State Service with effect from 10th October, 2012 as your service is no longer required, please.
Signed: Ibrahim Shehu
For: Head of Service
The letter has exposed the vindictive nature of the regime, which, surprisingly, came to power partly as a result of Yuguda’s tales of victimization in the hands of his bosom friend and predecessor, Adamu Muazu. But it didn’t take much time before the world came to know who is more quickly given to vendetta between the two.
From the content of the letter, it appears that the government is trying to avoid controversy. Thus it failed to provide any reason for the termination other than the mere expression of discretion to keep or fire Abbas. It is however curious, whether under our civil service rules, termination of service can be slammed on any civil servant without resort to due process.
In the case of Abbas, he was gagged and kept under police detention for 10 days before he was granted bail by the court. His arraignment in court was itself dubious as it violated every letter and spirit of the penal code regarding defamation. It was, therefore, easy for the Nigerian Bar Association to throw spanners in the charges and the case was summarily terminated. Having failed in the courts, the administration is resorting to impunity and arbitrariness. Neither in court nor before the committee he appeared did anyone requested Abbas to provide any evidence to support the allegations on the post he copied from another page and shared on Facebook. In law, such evidence provides a complete defense in a case of defamation.
The Bauchi State government is a public body whose action could be challenged in court for violating the rules governing its operations. Abbas’ attorneys should explore the possibility of an appeal. Doing so will greatly leap the cause of justice. The irony is that I have not read or heard the government deny the allegations of corruption labelled against the governor in the controversial Facebook post. Corrupt acts by government is common knowledge in Bauchi. The administration also did not challenge Abbas to provide evidence. The world, however, will one day know who is telling the truth: Facebook or Yuguda. We are not in a hurry.
I hereby reiterate the advice I once gave to my brother, Governor Yuguda. He should shun injustice and vendetta. They are characteristics of a weak leader that cannot tolerate criticism. One expects that a person that will victimize someone for a simple Facebook posting will be strong enough to face Boko Haram. But Yuguda simply walked away after the sect threatened to kill him and literally abandoned Bauchi for a hideout in Abuja. This is very much unlike Fulani. I hope he listens this time. It is just two years left before his tenure as governor becomes history. Many before him have come to Bauchi and left.
As for Abbas, I advise him to remain patient and steadfast. He should follow his case to a logical conclusion. As he does so, I hope the public will support him by encouraging and sympathizing with him.