Presidency administers oath of secrecy on 37 staff, cautions on handling sensitive information

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The Management of the State House Abuja has cautioned its staff to be mindful of where they work and be prudent in handling classified information and documents.

Permanent Secretary in charge of the State House, Tijjani Umar, gave the advice at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, during the administration of the oath of secrecy on the staff of the State House on Tuesday.

He warned the staff to be careful because dire consequences await anyone found divulging classified information or documents.

According to him, “What we have done today is to administer the oath of secrecy on the staff of the State House who handles classified documents which are secret and other documents that ought not to be handled without due diligence.

“This is so important because we are alarmed by the fact that nowadays, due to deployment of staff and retirement, we discovered that a lot of our officers need to be placed under the radar so that they will be aware that the jobs they are holding and the kind of documents information that they are holding from day to day are so important and must be safeguarded.

“Any breach of such documents will take away from the delivery of service; that was the reason why we decided that we should do the needful by administering the oath of secrecy and highlighting the importance of letting them know what information they are managing as well as the consequences of a breach of such information. I think when you let people know and along the way you find them wanting, the consequences are very clear.”

He further said the staff involved were sensitised on the rudiments of the oath of secrecy before it was administered to them.

“Before we even went forward to do the administration of the oath, what we did was to do sensitization training for them, so that the Official Secret Act will be spelt out to them very clearly. And the Special Services Office of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation was here today to take them through all the basics of that information that they require, and the type of knowledge that they would need to keep close to them in discharging their day-to-day responsibilities.

“And it’s been a hugely successful exercise. You could see from the solemn way the exercise was conducted by Justice Hamza Mu’azu of the FCT High Court. The staff are now much more aware and much more alert going forward, about their responsibilities. And then to the likely outcome of what any breach might bring about,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary said so far, no case of a breach of official information or document has been discovered in the State House but henceforth, whoever is found culpable, would face the consequences.

“We have not had any breach. We don’t anticipate any breach. But then it’s our duty to let them understand that if there is any, that also includes after they have left government service, that will be investigated. And then the appropriate punishment will be given,” Umar said.

He said the exercise would be a continuous one since officers currently handling such schedules would either be redeployed or retire from service someday.

A pool of 48 Staff from the secret and open registry, as well as those involved in the dispatch of official documents, participated in the exercise and a Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, Justice Hamza Mu’azu.

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