Chuks Okocha in Abuja
Staff of national and state Houses of Assemblies wednesday condemned the statement credited to the Head of Service of the Federation (HoSF), Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan, on the ‘Revised Conditions of Service’ for staff of the national and state assemblies.
In a statement issued yesterday, the Concerned Staff of the National and State Houses of Assembly Legislature and signed by its National President, Salisu Funtua; National Secretary, Alindele Adesanya, and National Publicity Secretary, Aguawike Ebele, said by implication, the HoSF comments subjugated the National Assembly, an arm of government, to her office and concluded that such revised conditions of service should be directed to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) through the National Council on Establishment.
The HoSF, in a response letter sent to her by the leadership of the National Assembly to elicit her opinion on the resolution of the eighth National Assembly regarding the revised conditions of service for staff of the National Assembly, dated June 30, 2020, with reference HCSF/SPSO/ODD/E&NP/649807/1, quoted copiously various sections of the 1999 Constitution as amended to buttress her submission to the leadership of the National Assembly.
But the national and state assemblies staff in their open letter to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and other presiding officers, said the National Assembly is a master of its own house on the constitutionally entrenched concept of separation of powers.
According to the staff, “It is therefore, not subject to the National Council on Establishment (NCE) advocacy. This council is an executive arm forum which is a departure from the pith and substance of our argument on an independent National Assembly.
“The memo of the HoSF can only be considered as an advisory opinion to the leadership of the National Assembly without any force of law. It has no binding effect because it is neither a policy statement nor guideline nor instrument of whatever value.
“It is salient at this juncture to refer to Section 158 (1) of the constitution on the independence of certain bodies which include the Federal Civil Service Commission.
“In this vein, the independence of the National Assembly Service Commission is sacrosanct in the affairs of the National Assembly. It is only where the enabling Act concedes any of its powers to another commission, that such grant of power will suffice. This can be gleaned from section 7 of the National Assembly Commission Act on power of delegation and certain restriction thereon. In the overall context, the National Assembly is independent and is under the constitutional and statutory regulation of the commission.
“Our humble submission is based on the generational clarion call to save our constitutional democracy from extinction and subjugation to the executive arm of government.”