NASS clerk, commission disagree over retirement age
The crisis rocking the National Assembly regarding the extension of service of its senior officials recorded a twist yesterday.
The Clerk, Mohammed Ataba Sani-Omolori and the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) openly disagreed over a notice of retirement issued to all senior staff said to have been due for retirement.
The commission rose from a meeting on Wednesday to announce immediate retirement of Sani-Omolori and several other senior officials of the Assembly who were said to have attained retirement age.
The NASC said it relied on the National Assembly Service Act 2014 (as amended) to take its decision.
A statement signed by the chairman of the commission, Ahmed Kadi Amshi , reads in part: “Pursuant to its mandate as provided in the National Assembly Service Act 2014 (as amended), the National Assembly Service Commission at its 497th meeting held on Wednesday 15th July 2020 has approved the retirement age of its staff as 35 years of service or 60 years of age whichever comes first.
“The commission has approved the immediate retirement of staff of the National Assembly Service who have already attained the retirement age of 35 years of service or 60 years of age. Retirement letters would be issued to the affected staff accordingly.”
In a counter statement signed by Sani-Omolori, it was claimed out that the commission had no powers to retire workers in the manner it had done.
Sani-Omolori’s statement reads:
“The Management of the National Assembly wishes to inform all staff and the general public that the extant regulation as contained in our Revised Conditions of Service duly passed by both chambers of the 8th National Assembly puts the retirement age of staff at 40 years of service and 65 years of age, whichever comes first.”
According to Omolori, the resolution of the 8th National Assembly on the Conditions of Service of Staff has not been rescinded nor abdicated by the National Assembly, who under the authentic National Assembly Service Act 2014, as passed, is empowered to review any proposed amendment to the conditions of service by the commission.
“Therefore, the National Assembly Service Commission does not have the powers to set aside the Revised Conditions of Service as passed by the 8th National Assembly.”
He said the management had maintained silence in deference to the leadership of the 9th National Assembly who is looking into the position being canvassed by the commission..
According to Omolori,”Management urges all staff to disregard the press release by the commission and go about their lawful duties. “
The face-off had created serious crack in the leadership of the National Assembly when the House of Representatives insisted last month on retaining its resolution that extended the tenure of Sani-Omolori and some 150 top officials of the Assembly.
This decision, it was learnt, might have destroyed the cordial relationship between the two chambers as the Senate leadership is reportedly seeking the reversal of that resolution to enable the National Assembly Service Commission terminate the tenure extension.
It was learnt that the House of Representatives rejected a memo by the commission seeking to cancel parts of the resolution, particularly the one relating to the extension of retirement age of the clerk and other officials.
Both chambers had in 2018 debated and approved the new conditions of service for National Assembly staff which included the extension of tenure.
As a result of the amendment of the condition of service, the retirement years for public servants in the National Assembly was moved from 35 to 40 years while retirement age was upgraded from 60 to 65 years.
But upon the appointment of the commission chairman, Ahmed Amshi, early this year, the tenure extension began to witness increased criticisms.
Amshi had set up a panel to investigate the issues around the extension.
When the panel submitted its report, Amshi wrote to the two chambers, seeking that their 2018 resolutions be rescinded to allow for sack of Sani-Omolori and the 150 senior staff whose tenure was extended.
But the House of Representatives, in a letter to Amshi, said the leadership of the House had resolved not to rescind the resolution.
The letter, that was signed by the Clerk to the House of Representatives, Patrick Giwa, stated that the leadership of the House of Representatives had chosen to maintain its earlier resolution on the matter and wouldn’t rescind it.
Although no official communication has come from the Senate on the matter, it was learnt that the leadership was not comfortable with the Reps’ decision to maintain the earlier resolution.
It had also been reported that the National Assembly Permanent Secretary in charge of legal matters, Bala Mohammed Yabani (Yobe State) has been tipped as the next clerk to the National Assembly. Amshi is also from Yobe, the same state that produced the president of the Senate.
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