Public Service Rules & Official Communication Procedures
Dr. Oyewole O. Sarumi
PUBLIC SERVICE RULES &
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To facilitate a platform for understanding of Public Service in
To offer participants a broad introduction to public service
rules and reforms.
Identify and explain the main concepts associated with public
Provide knowledge on procedure guiding official
communication in public service and why they are
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Explore issues of Public Service Rules
Understand the concepts and principles of Public
Evaluate the various ways of official communication
channels in the Nigerian Public Service
Understand the role of Public Service Rules in good
governance and effective service delivery
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At the end of this session, participants will:
Have a clear understanding and gain knowledge/skills
on Public Service Rules
Know these rules and how they affect them as Public
Be able to describe the various official communication
channels in the public service.
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Social sciences have bequeathed to humanity the
institution of government. Before the emergence of
government and governance, social interactions
and behaviour were not regulated. Man was
lawless and naturally barbaric. Everyone did things
the way they pleased him or her.
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In short, humans behaved like animals. Anarchy
was the order of the day. It was a state of survival
of the fittest and high level degree of oppression.
Government emerged to regulate behaviour,
human activities and social interactions.
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Social sciences field of study has contributed more
than any other field in the world because without
an enabling environment propelled by government
and governance, there would have been no such
great inventions in the fields of engineering,
medicine, architecture, etc.
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In a micro dimension therefore, if there are no
regulations, rules and laws generally, the public
service in fact would have not been in existence let
It is in this direction that some scholars see the
public service to be synonymous with bureaucracy
because bureaucracy itself is characterized by fixed
rules, discipline and proper conduct.
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For the public service to achieve its aims there is
the need for a set of rules and code of conduct to
be put in place so that services can be delivered
effectively and efficiently.
It is in this direction that the government came up
with such guidelines as the Public Service Rules,
Code of Conduct for public office holders, Code of
Ethic in Government business, financial
regulations, financial memorandum, etc.
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Here, we’re concerned with public service rules
and code of conduct for public servants of the
federation of Nigeria, of which you are an integral
We’ll highlight some of the provisions of
the current Public Service Rules published by the
Federal Government of Nigeria, and the Code of
Conduct for Public Officers enshrined in the Fifth
Schedule, Part 1 of the 1999 Constitution of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
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PUBLIC SERVICE RULES:
Public service rules refer to a set of laws guiding
the conduct of public servants for the effective and
efficient performance of their jobs. Included in the
public service rules are conditions of service for
public servants (Okonkwo, 2008).
The Public Service Rules in Nigeria have
undergone many changes in nomenclature right
from the colonial days to the present day.
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Evolution of Public Service Rules
Before 1960, called General Orders
(G.Os) instituted by the colonial
After 1960, changed to Civil Service
In the 1990s, changed to present
title of Public Service Rules
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It started as General Orders (G.Os) instituted by
the colonial masters. Before independence, the
G.Os served as guide for all government
employees in Government Departments and
Immediately after independence, the name changed
again to Civil Service Rules, and later to the
present title of Public Service Rules (Mustapha,
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The present title is adopted to make the rules have
general application to all manner of government
employees in Ministries, Departments and
Please note that the public service is generic and
broader in nature than civil service which is
restricted to personnel of core government
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Thus, all civil servants are public servants but not
all public servants are civil servants. (See
The public service rules refer to a code of
regulations which provide for basic rules,
regulations and procedures that are germane
for carrying out the business of government
geared towards efficient service delivery.
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It is expected that every public servant should
strictly comply with the provisions of the
The overall aim of the public service rules is to
ensure good conduct, loyalty, honesty, courtesy,
hard work and ethical principles.
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WHAT IS CIVIL SERVICE
Rule 010103-This is a body or organ of the
Government, which enjoys continuity of existence
and is usually referred to as Government's Central
bureaucracy. Essentially, it covers Ministries/Extra-
Ministerial Departments andAgencies. Its head is
Head of Service.
It is also the instrument of the Government of the
day but neither the service nor its members are the
partisan of any party.
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The Civil Service is made up of Civil Servants
who command a pool of experience and
expertise for implementing Government policies.
The Civil Service is indispensable irrespective of
the type of regime whether military or civilian.
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A body or organ that enjoys continuity of existence. It is
made up of the civil service, theTeaching Service, the
Health Service, the Local Government, the Judiciary,
Parastatal organisation, Government-owned companies
Rule 010101- Public Service Rules are a compendium of
rules regulating the conduct, attitude and career
movement of its staff on a daily basis to the point of exit.
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Conduct - in terms of relationship with your
Attitude to work and work place;
Career movement has to do with your progress
in the Service.
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DEFINING THE PUBLIC SERVICE
“Public Service” refers to an
agglomeration of all
organisations that exist as part
of government machinery for the
delivery of services
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The Differences: Between Civil
And Public Servants
Civil service is an organ in the executive arm of
government, primarily responsible for the
execution of government policies and program.
Civil service is divided into departments, these
departments are called ministries and these
ministries are headed by ministers. CIVIL
SERVANTS are SIMPLY THOSE WORKING FOR
the GOVT, UNDER THESE MINISTRIES. Simply
put, civil servants are government workers,
at federal, state or local govt. levels.
The Differences: Between Civil
And Public Servants
Please note that civil service doesn't include the
following.....police, armed forces, public
corporation and government owned
establishment.....BUT AN INCLUSION OF
THESE BODIES (just mentioned) TO the CIVIL
SERVICE IS WHAT'S CALLED "PUBLIC
What makes it "public" is that these set of people
also work for government (like civil servants) but
render direct services to the people on behalf of
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DEFINING THE PUBLIC SERVICE
It is the machinery through which government
articulates and implements its programmes
It is a mandatory institution of the State under the
Constitution, see: Chapter VI of 1999 Constitution
under the title: “The Executive, Part I (D) and Part
II (C) provides for a Public Service at Federal and
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SUMMARY OF THE ROLE OF THE
Advises government on policy options.
Administrative machinery of Government for implementing
policy decisions and delivering services.
Driver of all development initiatives and pivot for growth of
Lead institution in strategic thinking and translation of
intentions to policies for the delivery of improved quality of
Fulfills the mandate of the Government, in conjunction with
the political leadership, which is to serve the people.
Crucial to the overall effort of responding effectively to the
development challenges of the 21st century.
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DEFINING PUBLIC SERVICE
RULES & REGULATIONS
Public Service rules and regulations are publicly agreed
upon sets of principles, policies, criteria,
descriptions and/or conducts governing the
operations and activities of the public service
Public Service Rules ensure that the fundamental ethical
issues in the Public Service are strictly adhered to.
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AIMS OF PUBLIC SERVICE RULES
Aimed at entrenching the issues of transparency,
accountability, justice, equity, due process, and the rule of
law. All these are very paramount to the conduct of
Government business, which all Public Servants must
The strategic goal of Public Service Rules and reforms
(PSR&R), is to achieve our national development agenda
and collective goal of becoming one of the 20 leading
industrialized nations of the world by 2020 through a
focused and vibrant Public Service.
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Public Service Rules
It cover a wide range of issues relating to:
1. Appointment and leaving the service – Types of
appointment; appointment to senior posts, Secret
society prohibition, etc.
2. Rules for appointment on probation: – Period of
probation (2 years before confirmation).
3. Rules for appointment on contract:- conditions for
contract; duration of appointment, etc.
4. Transfer and secondments: Procedures for transfer
5. Acting Appointment:- Only when necessary
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6. Leaving the Service:- retirement in public interest,
termination during probation, resignation, etc.
7. Allowances: – various types
8. Annual Performance Evaluation Report and Certificates of
9. Compensation for injuries:- workmen compensation Act, etc
10. Compensation and Insurance:- loss of property, loss of
private property, life assurance, etc.
11. Courses of instructions within and outside Nigeria
12. Discipline:- (a) Misconduct (b) Serious misconduct (c)
Conduct prejudicial to the security of the State.
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13. Emoluments and Increment:- payment of salaries; increment,
14. Examination in law and official publications: combined
confirmation/promotion examination, compulsory examination
for executive officers, etc.
15. Inventions and Award Committee: functions, procedure, etc.
16. Leave - types, date, etc.
17. Medical and Dental Procedures: medical treatment, etc.
18. Petitions and Appeals
20. Reward for outstanding works.
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Because these rules are detailed and lengthy, this lecture
will only highlight briefly the provisions of some of them
you are likely to come across with, shortly in your service
with the State. These include rules on:
Petitions and Appeals
Official Communication Procedures
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FORMS OF, AND PENALTIES FOR,
INDISCIPLINE IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE
The Public Service Rules seem to recognize four main
heads of indiscipline.
The heads are: General inefficiency, Misconduct,
Serious Misconduct, and Conduct Prejudicial to the
Security of the State.!"
The disciplinary measures that may be inflicted upon an
erring public servant are:
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FORMS OF, AND PENALTIES FOR,
INDISCIPLINE IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE
Dismissal, termination or retirement;
Reduction in rank;
Reduction in salary;
Withholding or deferment of increment;
Loss of pay/non-payment for the corresponding
days an officer is not at his duty post/station
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FORMS OF, AND PENALTIES FOR,
INDISCIPLINE IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE
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Annual Leave Defined
120202 – annual leave is the absence of an officer
from duty for a period specified in Rule 120209
as may be authorized by a superior officer
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Rule 100101 defines leave as the authorized absence of
an officer from duty for specific period.The Rule
identified the following types of leave:
Annual Leave – absence of an officer from duty for:
30 days for senior officers
21 days for junior officers
14 days for officers below grade level 03
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Annual Leave Is Compulsory
120203 -Annual vacation leave is compulsory. No officer
shall be required or allowed to take working leave
whereby the officer reports for duty during his approved
leave period.All officers must therefore take vacation
leave within the calendar year in which such leave is due.
Period between 1st day of January and the 31st of
December of the year.
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–Vacation leave which an officer is permitted to carry
forward until the time of his retirement.
Leave granted as a gift or favour not because there is a
legal duty to grant it.
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OTHER LEAVE -120201
Leave to attendTrade Union
Leave of absence;
Pro rata leave or
Study leave with pay;
Study leave without pay;
Leave to attend cultural or
Leave on compassionate
Leave on ground of urgent
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Leave Inclusive Of Saturday, Sunday
And Public Holidays
120207 provides that the period of any leave as casual leave,
sick leave, maternity leave etc granted under these rules shall
be inclusive of Saturday, Sunday and Public holidays
120208 -An officer whether serving at a station away from
his home place or serving at his home place when granted
annual leave shall be provided with leave allowance at the
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It is the authorised absence from duty of a serving male
officer to whom a new baby or babies in a case of multiple
births is born or adopted up to a maximum of 10 days in
relation to and at the time of his spouse first two deliveries.
A male officer shall not be entitled to Paternity leave in
respect of the third and subsequent children.Approval is
subject to presentation of child's birth certificate or letter of
release as applicable.
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B.-a female officer who adopts is entitled to 12 weeks
Adoption leave at a stretch beginning from the date of release
of baby with full pay. Evidence showing the release of the
baby must be presented before grant of leave.Where this
annual leave has already been enjoyed before the grant of
adoption leave, that part of the adoption leave equivalent to
the annual leave will be without pay.
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Pro-rata Or Proportionate Leave
Proportionate leave is a vacation granted to a new, officers
who attend courses of instruction/training over a period of
six months or retiring officer in proportion to the number of
days he has put into the service.Any period of service under
30 days is not reckonable.
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Leave Of Absence
It is the absence from duty authorized on grounds of
All such leave shall be approved without pay by the Civil
Service Commission or any other such body on the
recommendation of the Head of Service.
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Types Of Leave Of Absence
A. leave of absence to join spouse on course of instruction of
not less than 9 months duration abroad.
B. special leave of absence to join spouse on grounds of
C. leave of absence on grounds of Public Policy forTechnical
D. leave of absence to take up non-elective political
E. leave of absence on grounds of Public policy for an official
whose spouse is a President,Vice President, Governor,
Deputy Governor, Chairman orVice Chairman.
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The Public Service Rules define petition as “a formal
appeal to ultimate authority, that is, the Head of
Government for special consideration of a matter
affecting an officer personally”.
The Rules advised officers to as much as possible exhaust
all possible peaceful avenues provided in the Public
Service Rules and Circulars for redress before
proceeding to courts of law.
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A petition must be submitted through the proper
departmental channels, namely the petitioner’s
immediate superior officer and the Permanent
Secretary/Head of Extra ministerial office, who will
forward the petition with his or her comments and
recommendations to the Chairman of the Federal Civil
Service Commission and Head of the Civil Service of the
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A petition must bear the full name, staff number,
signature and address of the petitioner (Rule 090206).
A petition submitted more than 6 months after the
decision complained of has been given, will not be
entertained, unless such delay is supported by valid
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CODE OF CONDUCT
The overall objective of Code of Conduct is to ensure
public accountability by public officials.
Code of Conduct refers to “a comprehensive and
systematically arranged collection of laws, regulations
and rules of conduct procedure that guide, regulate and
direct the behaviour of public officers” .
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Every public servant and indeed public office holder in
Nigeria is expected to abide by the provision of the Code
of Conduct for public officers as stipulated in the Fifth
Schedule, Part 1 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
For the avoidance of doubt, Part II of the Fifth Schedule
of the Constitution defines the categories of public
officers for which the Code of Conduct is applicable to.
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OFFICIAL COMMUNICATIONS IN
PUBLIC SERVICE –
RULES & PROCEDURES
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PATTERNS OF COMMUNICATION FLOW
IN AN ORGANIZATION
According to Eboh (1986), the flow of
communication in an organization can be:
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TYPES OF OFFICIAL COMMUNICATION:
STEPS & PROCEDURES
The Nigerian Civil Service has many channels through which
it communicates with not only its members but also
members of the public. Some of these are; written, oral, or
non-verbal channels.Very often, the channels that are used
within the service, depends on:
1)What is to be communicated?
2)Who is doing the communicating?
3)At who is the communication targeted.
4)What is the feed-back.
The wrong channel would naturally result in the target
audience missing the message or information altogether.
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The 4 Pathway in Government
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WRITTEN CHANNELS: In Public Service
In the Nigerian Civil Service, this is the most
frequently and intensively used communication
Some of the written channels often used in the civil
service are hereby listed below:
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ORAL CHANNELS: In Public Service
In the service, there are various forms of oral communication.
They could take the form of:
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COMMUNICATION BARRIERS WITHIN
THE CIVIL SERVICE
The preferred communication strategy in the
Nigerian Civil Service. Most civil servants prefer
that one puts whatever he wishes to say in writing.
Written channels are generally the most preferred
in the service. Every employee wishes to have and
keep a written record of communication, so that
the sender cannot later deny the message.
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The basic barriers to effective communication in the civil
service may be classified into two broad categories.
Those barriers that have to do with the
person, and classifiable into the
psychological, the physical and the semantic.
Those that concern the service itself as an
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There are official barriers to effective
communication created by the civil service itself.
These have to do with civil service rules and
regulations, the biggest of these being the Oath of
It is a basic requirement that every public official
subscribes to the Oath of Secrecy, which is signed
and carefully preserved.
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What constitutes a breach of the official secret
acts is so widely defined that it cover any kind of
information given out without official
No civil servant wishes to inadvertently disclose
information that may be covered by the official
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As a result, civil servants have to seek permission
before they can communicate any information to a
person who needs it.This slows down the
communication process and in several instances
frustrates it altogether.
Civil servants are also prohibited from publishing
in the mass media or speaking in public on matters
of political or administrative import.They are on
tap, not on top; to be seen, not to be heard.
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This makes the civil servant circumspect in
choosing his words in public or even refuse to hold
discussion in public for fear that he might breach
These barriers to communication created by the
government has made it very difficult to receive
communication on civil service or government
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The advent of FOI Bill may ease difficulties in
accessing required information if the information
seeker can be prudent to pursue the law to its
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How to Overcome Barriers of
Taking the receiver more seriously
Crystal clear message
Delivering messages skilfully
Focusing on the receiver
Using multiple channels to communicate instead of
relying on one channel
Ensuring appropriate feedback
Be aware of your own state of mind/emotions/attitude
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Tools of effective
Using “I am directed”
Spice up your words
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Some Last Words
In order to improve communication within the
Public Service, it is necessary to remove or
modify some of the institutional barriers within
First, the Oath of Secrecy as it stands today is
much too restrictive.Although official secret acts
are a necessity, the problem here remains the fact
that it is too all-embracing.Things that should not
be secret have been made so by this act.
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A well-considered modification of the official SecretActs
1982, will improve communication from government to
the people and the people to government.
A list of those kinds of information that should not be
revealed should be made available to the public.The
Oath should then only be binding on the listed items.
Any other matter, not covered by the list should be freely
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Such a modification will speed up the flow of
information because civil servants will then be free to
uncover what is not listed as official secret.
Second, is the need to reduce the severity of the rule
prohibiting civil servants from making public statements.
When a dedicated civil servant, working within the
system to improve it, meets with frustration, he may be
justified in going public with his case.
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Constructive criticisms are fair criticisms which
must be allowed in a responsible organization. If
the civil service is to operate at a desirable level
of efficiency, it is important that communication
within the service must be effective, not only in
some ministries like the Presidency, or the
governor’s office, but throughout the service.
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And for communication to be effective, it must flow in
all directions.When this is facilitated through granting
some level of freedom of communication to civil
servants within the system, bureaucratic red-tape and the
long pipeline syndrome will be reduced, and efficiency
enhanced in the civil service.
Like I opined earlier, the enactment of FOI Bill into law
may ease this secrecy if the information seeker or
prodder can be prudent and tenaciuos to pursue the law
to its logical and conclusive end.
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One major characteristic of the public service is
the stability of tenure of its personnel.
It is expected that bearing any form of
misconduct, accident, disability or death, a
public servant is expected is to work till he or she
attains retirement age.
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This is diametrically antithetical to what is obtainable in
private sector where an employee can be hired today and
fired tomorrow even without any misconduct or wrong
For us therefore, to enjoy this special public service
privilege, it is expected of us to abide by all the
provisions of the Public Service Rules, Code of Conduct
for public Officers, Circulars, directives, and indeed
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It is recommended therefore, that each and every one of
you should have copies of the latest edition of the Public
Service Rules and Code of Conduct for Public Officers
or the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of
They are Bibles of the public service and should be read,
studied and obeyed in the same manner Christians do
with the Holy Bible and Moslems with the Holy Koran.
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CLOSING STORY: Seek Complete
Information Always Before Acting!
JackWalshertum, an airplane cleaner was cleaning the
cockpit when he saw a book titled:“HOWTO FLYAN
AIRPLANE FOR BEGINNERS….Volume 1”.
He opened the first page which said:To start the engine,
press the RED button. He did so, and the plane engine
started. He was happy, and open page 2 which said:
To set the airplane moving, press the BLUE button. He did
so and the plane started moving at an amazing speed.
He wanted to fly, so he opened the third page which said:
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To let the airplane fly, please press the GREEN button.
He did so and the plane started to fly. He was excited.
After 20 minutes of flying, he was satisfied and wanted
to land, so he decided to go to page 4.
He fainted after reading the instructions.The 4th page
said:To learn how to land a plane, please buyVolume 2.
WHATARETHE MORAL LESSONS FROMTHIS
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Seek complete information before doing a task especially
in areas you are less competent.
You need others to become more knowledgeable in this
Incomplete or partial information on anything could lead
Ignorance is not an excuse to put your life and that of
others at risk.
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Be a good public servant!
Be a conscientious public servant!
Be an instrument of public service delivery!
Be an exemplary public servant!
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Okonkwo, J.K.J. Public Services Rules and Code Of
Conduct For Public Servants.A paper presented to the
newly employed staff ofAkanu Ibiam Federal
Polytechnic, Unwana, (2009 – date), on the occasion of
the induction programme organised by the Polytechnic,
Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at the Polytechnic auditorium.
Culled from http://akanuibiampoly.edu.ng/?page_id=344
Laws Guiding Public Civil Service Employees In Nigeria
Culled from http://martinslibrary.blogspot.com.ng/2013/03/laws-
Monday, 23 November 201579
Introduction to Public Service. From the workshop
conducted for the Federal Ministry ofWorks,Abuja.
Public Service Reforms and Code of Conduct.A
workshop conducted by PearlAssociates for Lagos State
MOH staff, 2015.
Lagos State Human Resources Policies.
Public Service Rules – Office of the Head of Service –
The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,
(1999, as amended.
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