42 staff working inside the Nigeria’s seat of power — Aso Rock on Tuesday swore to an oath of secrecy, to not divulge the daily goings-on at the State House.
Justice Hamza Muazu of the FCT High Court administered the Oath of Secrecy and Declaration of Secrecy to the staff of the State House.
The Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar warned staff that disclosing confidential information without authorisation will attract penalties under the public service rules.
The Permanent Secretary explained that 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.
The Permanent Secretary, who disclosed that the exercise will be continuous, expressed delight that so far the State House has not recorded any breach of information.
‘‘We have not had any breach. We don’t anticipate having any breach.
‘‘But then it’s our duty to let them understand that if there is any, there will be consequences after investigations and that also includes after they have retired from the Civil Service,’’ he said.
Earlier before the administration of the Oaths, Mr Tukur Yahaya, the Director of Special Services Department, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, took the staff through sensitization, explaining the essence of the Official Secrets Act, 1962.
‘‘The essence of this exercise is to ensure the safety and security of government information, documents and facilities,’’ he said.
Civil servants by their training are expected not to divulge official information without authorisation.
But to now compel them to swear to an oath is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria.