For allegedly supporting the All Progressives Congress during the just-concluded governorship poll in Bayelsa State, the Seriake Dickson administration has marked no fewer than 500 civil servants for sanctions, The PUNCH has learnt.
It was learnt on Monday that the affected civil servants might not receive their salaries for the months of December and January, as part of their punishment for being pro-APC in the election.
Already, the action of the government has started generating tension in the state.
Dickson was re-elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, defeating former Governor Timipre Sylva of the APC and Moses Siasia of the Peoples Democratic Movement.
The Independent National Electoral Commission conducted the governorship election, marred by violence, on December 5 and 6, and the supplementary poll on January 9, 2016.
The government was said to have set up ‘a special committee’ in each of the eight local government areas of the state to ‘take note of civil servants who are pro-APC’ before and during the election.
The action of the government cuts across the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies, affecting civil servants who are within grade levels eight and 17.
It was learnt that the directive to punish the ‘unpatriotic’ civil servants was based on the report submitted by the ‘special committee’ shortly after INEC declared Dickson winner of the election on January 10, 2016.
Their names had been forwarded to the Due Process Bureau which operates the automated payroll system of the state government for ‘necessary action’.
The directive was said to have emanated from the office of the Secretary to the State Government and routed through the office of the Head of Service (HoS) to the Due Process Bureau, headed by Dickson’s Special Adviser on Treasury Matters, Mr. Timi Seipulo, for implementation.
It was further learnt that workers of the state broadcasting corporation and the sports council were the worst hit by the action of the government.
One of the affected workers said it was the accountant in their establishment that hinted them that their names were not on the payroll for December and January.
The civil servant, who pleaded anonymity because of fear of retribution, explained that when they took their complaints to the Due Process last week, they were told to seek clarification at the office of the HoS, Mr. Peter Singabele.
He said the HoS confirmed to them it was “the truth of the matter.”
“After the accountant told us that our names have been removed from the payroll because we had sympathy for the APC, we went to the Due Process, and there, we were told us to go to the HoS.
“On his part, the HoS told us that it is the truth of the matter and that the instruction was from the Secretary to the State Government office.”
When contacted, Singabele declined to comment on the matter over the phone, querying, “How do you think I will speak on that kind of matter over the phone”?
But attempts to get his reaction in his office as of press time were futile, as he was repeatedly said to be very busy.