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Exclusive: How Timipre Sylva Promoted Dull Level 12 Officer to Permanent Secretary Position as Minister of Petroleum Resources

Exclusive: How Timipre Sylva Promoted Dull Level 12 Officer to Permanent Secretary Position as Minister of Petroleum Resources

Secrets Reporters

A case of illegal promotion has come to light in the Nigerian Civil Service, with a revelation of the involvement of Timipre Marlin Sylva, who served as the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources of Nigeria from 2019 to 2023. Mr. Sylva, who was also the former governor of Bayelsa State from 2007 to 2012, according to multiple sources in the ministry, breached the civil service rules in promotions within the government structure by influencing the elevation of a younger staff to Permanent Secretary Grade level position.

Promotions within the Nigerian Civil Service are considered pivotal, as they reflect the advancement of civil servants to higher positions of authority, carrying greater responsibilities and often leading to changes in duties and titles.

A key figure in this unfolding corruption is Engr. Dr. Saidu Bello who joined the civil service in 2010 and suddenly became a Deputy Director by 2022 in the biggest promotion scandal in the Nigeria Petroleum Ministry.

What raised eyebrows is his sudden and unusual nomination for the position of Permanent Secretary by the previous administration under former President Mohammed Buhari, as influenced by Sylva. This elevation would have put Dr. Bello among the highest echelons of the civil service hierarchy.

Insider sources within the Civil Service told SecretReporters that Bello was cleared by all relevant security and anti-graft agencies except the Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), which noted that he was not qualified for the role. The ICPC, according to our sources, wrote back to the President that Bello was unfit for such a role and had failed the polygraph test.

It was gathered that despite the observations made by the ICPC, superior powers ensured that Bello was cleared and was billed to be announced as a permanent secretary following Buhari’s approval. However, sources said the authorities made a U-turn at the last minute and dropped Bello following a series of insider petitions to the former President.

Documents in our possession revealed that Dr. Bello’s first employment was as a Chemical Engineer II on SGL 8, with an annual salary of N441,075.00 in 2010.

In part, his employment letter read, “I am directed to offer you permanent and pensionable appointment as CHEMICAL ENGINEER 11 in the Federal Civil Service of Nigeria on Salary Grade Level 08 Step 2 which is N441, 875.00 per annum with effect from 19/03/10 2. Your appointment is at the pleasure of the President, Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, and subject to the current Civil Service Rule: Regulations and Instructions of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Your pension will be reckoned from the date of appointment.”

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Bello’s position evolved over time, culminating in his illegal promotion to Deputy Director of Petroleum (Gas) on SGL 16, effective June 27, 2022. The suspicious aspect emerges in the communication from the Federal Civil Service Commission, dated November 23, 2022. The letter, signed by Ogaba Ede, Director of Recruitment and Appointment, notified Dr. Bello of his upgraded appointment, raising him from SGL 12 to SGL 16, in alignment with a supposed Presidential directive from June 27, 2022.

However, the veracity of this promotion has sparked issues about the irregularities in the process of elevating Dr. Bello directly to the Deputy Director position—skipping SGL 15, which corresponds to the role of an Assistant Director.

Mr Sylva is currently gunning to be Bayelsa State Governor under the All Progressive Congress in 2023.

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