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Aso Rock Villa staff forced to take oath of secrecy

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Staff at the State House in Abuja have been made to take an oath of secrecy and warned that disclosing confidential information without authorisation will attract penalties under public service rules.

The warning was issued by the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar at the administration of Oath of Secrecy and Declaration of Secrecy to 42 staff of the State House, administered by Justice Hamza Muazu of the FCT High Court on Tuesday.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Assistant Director Information, State House, Patience Tilley-Gyado

Tilley-Gyadi said 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,” he said.

‘‘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,’’ Umar was quoted as saying.

Umar expressed delight that so far the State House has not recorded any breach of information, noting that the exercise will be continuous.

‘‘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 sensitisation, 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.

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