Senate Drops Controversial Service Extension Bill for N’Assembly Staff

Senate Drops Controversial Service Extension Bill for N’Assembly Staff

Sunday Aborisade in Abuja 

The Senate on Wednesday stepped down the controversial Bill which sought to extend the service year of the National Assembly staff by additional five years.

The bill, which has been passed by the House of Representatives, failed to pass for concurrence at the upper chamber.

There was an uproar in the Senate immediately after the Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, introduced the bill. 

Apart from the senator representing Kano South, Sumaila Kawu, who supported the bill, others, including Senators Enyinnaiya Abaribe, Ali Ndume and others, rejected the proposed legislation, insisting that it would cause discrimination in the Nigerian civil service.

Ruling on the matter, Senate President Godswill Akpabio said the red chamber was stepping down the bill because it was controversial.

The National Assembly plans to extend the tenure of the current clerk of the National Assembly, Sani Tambawal Magaji, and over 200 staff, if the bill is passed. 

If the bill is passed, over 200 staff due for retirement in November this year may likely get a five-year service extension. 

But the Senate refused concurrence to the controversial bill on the extension of retirement age for civil servants in the legislative arms and across the 36 state Houses of Assembly. 

The dtaff, who are apprehensive on the bill, said attempts by the Senate to pass a bill for an act to extend the retirement age of the staff of the National Assembly Service from 60 to 65 years of age and from 35 to 40 years of service is counterproductive. 

Successive management of the National Assembly bureaucracy  since 2017 made attempts to allegedly buy over the leadership and members of the Senate and the House of Representatives to make a law extending the tenure of service as against the condition prescribed by the Public Service Rules which provides for retirement age of persons in the public service of the federation at the attainment of 60 years of age or 35 year of service whichever comes first. 

Some National Assembly workers’ unions under the aegis of Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), have endorsed a new bill which seeks to extend the service years of staff of the apex legislature, a document has revealed.

This is however contrary to earlier media reports that the Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Tambawal, and about 200 members of top management due for retirement this year are behind the bill.

The Civil Service Rules currently prescribes 35 years in service or 60 years of age for employees to mandatorily retire.

It was gathered that the staff of the National Assembly had during its Congress on December 4, 2023, issued a communique in which they adopted the bill despite their earlier opposition.

It was titled: ‘Communique issued at the end of Congress organized by Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) National Assembly Chapter, held on Monday 4th December, 2023 in Senate Conference Room 231, New Building, National Assembly, Abuja.’

A copy of the communique sighted by THISDAY was signed by Omagu Godwin (Chairman, Communique drafting committee), Gideon Nwaogu (Secretary), Sani Rabiat (Member) and Millicent Laz-Eke (Member).

Mr. Okpekor N. Okpa, who was also a member of the communique drafting committee, did not sign the document.

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