Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Office of the Senate President has laid off some staff in what it said was an exercise intended to better position the office for efficient service delivery.
The office however explained that while some were asked to go, several persons initially seconded from the National Assembly Service Commission were deployed back to the service.
Unconfirmed reports claimed that 98 persons were affected, but Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, declined to put a figure to those affected.
Briefing journalists on the development yesterday afternoon, Olaniyonu said the exercise was entirely at the discretion of the Senate President based on the judgement of a review committee.
Olaniyonu said the staff review is a culmination of an assessment exercise which started four months ago.
He explained further that staff were categorised into three; those determined as good enough to continue, those who needed to be removed, and the fresh persons who need to be brought in.
â€œIt is entirely his (Sarakiâ€™s) discretion to determine who works with him, those who are helping his agenda, and those areas where gaps need to be filled. This is important for the efficiency of the office.â€
â€œIt is not a negative thing. It is to ensure that the office is more invigorated, and better positioned. It is possible some new people may also be joining, in areas lapses have been observed,â€
â€œIt is good for a public official like the Senate President to have given everybody the opportunity to serve, the last 26 months are good enough to determine who would fits into his agenda for the next 22 months of the life span of this Senate,â€ Olaniyonu added.
He however did not give details of the number affected, how many staff are retained and how many new persons may be brought in.
The media aide also dispelled insinuations that the staff strenght was reduced to cut cost, insisting it was purely for efficient service delivery.