The Ekiti State Government has started administering the oath of secrecy on workers in the state’s public service to stop dissemination of unapproved information to the public.
Head of Service, Dr. Olugbenga Faseluka, who administered the oath on Thursday at a two-day workshop organized for staff of the Ministry of Budget and Economic Development, said the oath of secrecy was in line with the State Public Service Rules and Regulation and did not contradict the provisions of the Freedom of Information law which grants the public access to government information.
He said most of the workers were oblivious of the provisions of the Public Service Rules until the introduction of competitive promotion examination, whose syllabus included the knowledge of the Public Service Rules.
His words: “Ekiti is one of the states in Nigeria to have domesticated the Freedom of Information Law. The essence of that law is to let members of the public have access to the workings of government.
“What we are doing by reviving the oath of secrecy is to tell people that our service is not an amorphous and rudderless one. When information is given out, there is a channel in the ministry.
“What the civil service does is to mill or process its information. It is only the permanent secretary in the ministry that can authorize the release of information.”
“There was an unfortunate incident. A patient disclosed her HIV status to a nurse, then there was a misunderstanding between the patient and the nurse leading to a fight.
“The nurse said ‘you this AIDS patient’. That is a public servant who was supposed to keep the status of her patient secret. We don’t want such in the public service that we are running.”