Structure and Classes of the Nigerian Civil Service
Civil servants can be grouped into the following classes:
1. Administrative Class:
This comprises of the most senior civil servants who organize and coordinate the activities of the ministries. They execute high-level administrative work, advice ministers in formulation and implementation of policies and serve as communication link between the minister and other civil servants.
Recruitment to this class is based on university education and very competitive written examinations and interviews conducted by the civil service commission. In this class are directors-general, other directors, deputy directors, assistant directors, etc.
2. Executive Class:
The executive class implements the general policies and programmes of the government on a daily basis. They supervise and control the activities of their subordinates and help to collect facts that aid in making policy decisions.
This class comprises of executive officers, senior executive officers and senior technical officers who are recruited after possessing professional diplomas and certificates as well as G.C.E. A-level or its equivalent.
3. The Professional Class:
This class of officers are recruited as a result of their specialized training, skills, scientific and technical knowledge. The professional class includes lawyers, medical doctors, engineers, architects, accountants and teachers.
They offer professional advice on the technical policies of the government and supervise sensitive projects undertaken by the government. Recruitment into this class is based on professional or university education.
4. The Clerical Class:
This class of workers include typists, clerical officers, clerical assistants and secretaries who help staff in the other classes to carry out their functions. Their job involves keeping records, movement of files, preparation of data and vouchers and payment of claims. They are holders of secondary school certificates and G.C.E Oliver or equivalent professional certificates e.g. in typing.
5. The Auxiliary Class:
The categories of workers in this class include cleaners, drivers, painters, messengers, porters and gardeners. This work involves manual labour, while the qualification for entry is the first leaving school certificate.
The Civil service reforms of 1988 introduced some modifications to the traditional structure of the service, which include the following:
- It abolished the post of permanent secretary and replaced it with that of director-general who was a political appointee.
- The distinction between the executive and administrative classes was removed.
- Civil servants were to serve in the ministries for which they were primarily qualified.
- The minister was the chief executive and accounting officer of his ministry.