No fewer than 42 staff working at the State House, Aso Villa were placed on Oath of Secrecy by the Permanent Secretary, State House, Mr Tijjani Umar, on Tuesday.
Mr Umar, who supervised the oath-taking said the move, was necessary as the staff involved handle classified information in their respective positions.
“Breach of classified information and documents is inimical to the delivery of service,” the permanent secretary said as Justice Hamza Muazu of the Federal High Court administered the oath on the staff.
“Therefore, we found it necessary to assist this segment of staff who are directly dealing with classified information.
“This is a very peculiar environment and, therefore, it is important to us to remind them about their duties, their oaths, their responsibilities in all those things they are handling and then the consequences of mishandling such kind of responsibilities.’’
Mr Umar warned that divulging classified and unauthorised information was a breach of the law and would attract consequences.
According to Mr Umar, those taking the oath are staff of the C-in-C Secretariat; that is, Secretariat of the President; staff from the Registry of the Vice President, staff from the Registry of Chief of Staff to the President and the staff of the Registry of the Permanent Secretary.
He said that others were staff of the Secret Registry of the State House and the Open Registry.
“Cumulatively, these members of staff are the ones that from day to day handle some of the most sensitive information going back and forth in our offices and in our environment.
“It is very important to us to discharge our responsibility and our obligations and to let them understand that we are going to apply the rules.
“Government as an institution is held together by laws, by rules and by regulations and those laws, rules and regulations are there to be respected, to be enforced and any breach of that will always carry a consequence.”
He said that earlier lecture was to properly sensitise the members of staff to official secrets laws and regulations and how to avoid deliberate breach of classified information.
Mr Umar said that the exercise would be continuous and expressed delight that so far the State House had not recorded any breach of information.
“We have not had any breach; we don’t anticipate having any breach.
“But then it is 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 in his remark, Tukur Yahaya, Director, Special Duties, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said that the essence of the event was to ensure the safety and security of government information, documents and facilities.
He said that secrecy was binding on every government official.
The oath taking featured a lecture on the Official Secret Act which expects patriotism, passion, truthfulness, integrity, loyalty, reliability, dedication to duty among others from government officials.
State House Counsel Geraldine Longsten also attended the exercise which was held at the State House Auditorium.