Deji Elumoye, Chuks Okocha and Udora Orizu in Abuja
There was power tussle at the National Assembly wednesday as the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) and the Clerk of the Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, disagreed over the retirement age of parliamentary workers.
The commission had in a statement by its Chairman, Ahmed Amshi, said it has approved 35 years as retirement age of the staff of the National Assembly Service or 60 years of age whichever comes first.
The Clerk of the National Assembly, Sani-Omolori, was quick to reply few hours after via another statement that the commission has no such power to say that 40 years of service or 65 years of age approved by the eighth National Assembly subsists.
The NASC had in its statement approved the retirement of those who have attained 60 years or put in 35 years in the service.
The directive would have affected Sani-Omolori and about 150 other workers, including directors who have either attained the mandatory 35 years of service or age 60.
The commission statement read 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 July 15, 2020, has approved the retirement age of the staff of the National Assembly Service as 35 years of service or 60 years of age whichever comes first.
‘’To this effect, 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.’’
Rejecting the commission’s move, the National Assembly management asked the staff as well as the public to disregard the statement from the NASC.
In a counter statement titled: ‘Retirement age for staff of the National Assembly is 40 years of service or 65 years of age whichever comes first’, the Assembly Clerk stated inter alia: “The attention of the National Assembly management has been drawn to a press release dated July 15, 2020, signed by the chairman of the National Assembly Service Commission, informing the public that the commission has approved the retirement age of staff of the National Assembly as 35 years of service or 60 years of age, whichever comes first.
“The management of the National Assembly wishes to inform all staff and the public that the extant regulation as contained in our Revised Conditions of Service duly passed by both chambers of the eighth National Assembly puts the retirement age of staff at 40 years of service and 65 years of age, whichever comes first. “The resolution of the eighth 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.”
The management had maintained a studied silence in deference to the leadership of the ninth National Assembly who is looking into the position being canvassed by the commission.
“It is therefore intriguing that the National Assembly Service Commission has unilaterally gone ahead to take a ‘decision’,” it stated.