Presidency staff take oath of secrecy, warned against divulging classified information

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The management of State House, Abuja, on Tuesday, warned its staff that any of them who divulged government classified information without authorisation to do so will face dire consequences.

Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, gave the warning when 42 staff members were administered with oath of secrecy by Justice Hamzat Muazu of the Federal Capital Territory High Court at the State House Auditorium, Abuja.

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Umar warned that the management would not tolerate any act of truancy and breach of oath of secrecy by the staff, stressing that leaking classified information without authorisation was a grievous offence.

He said: “This exercise is the beginning of doing what is right in various offices. The rules must be enforced and any breach carries a consequence. From now on, you are under the radar. We are going to watch and follow you.”

According to him: “What we have done today is to administer the oath of secrecy on staff of the State House who handle classified documents.

“When we say classified documents, they are secret and other documents that ought not to be handled without due diligence. So, I think it’s so important because we are alarmed by the fact that nowadays, due to deployment of staff and through retirement, we discovered that a number of our officers need to be placed under the radar.

“They will be aware that the jobs that they are holding, and the kind of documents or information they are holding from day to day, Monday to Friday and beyond, those documents are so important and must be safeguarded.

“And the breach of such documents would take away from the delivery of service and that was the reason we decided that we should do the needful by administering the oath of secrecy, and highlighting the inport of letting them know what information they are managing, and then the consequences of the breach of such information.

“I think when you let people know, and then along the way, you find them wanting, the consequences are very clear.

“And so before we even went forward to do the administration of the oath, what we did was to do a sensitisation training for them, so that the Official Secret Act will be spelt out to them very clearly.”

On whether the exercise would be continuous, he said, “Like I said, from time to time, people who handle this schedule retired, some of them get deployed or posted out.

“And so when new people come in, you need to also renew this exercise so that all of us are always on the same page.”

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