Attempt by the Clerk of the National Assembly (CNA), Mohammed Sani-Omolori and certain senior officials to extend their service beyond the statutory 35 years may have hit the rocks.
Investigations revealed that banking on a controversial amendment, ‘Retirement age and Conditions of Service’ which was hurriedly passed by the leadership of the Eighth Assembly on the eve of its exit, the sitting clerk and other officers are smarting to extend their tenure in office for another five years despite attaining the legal age for retirement.
The amendment purportedly moved the maximum retirement age of civil servants from 35 to 40 years.
Forces pushing for the exit of Sani-Omolori alleged that he has attained the statutory age, having joined the National Assembly in February 1991 as a Principal Legal Officer on Level 12 from the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) in 1989. Before his stewardship with NEPA, the incumbent clerk of the National Assembly who was born in June 1961 was a legal officer with the now moribund Ajaokuta Steel Company until 1985.
Those opposed to his continued stay in office argued that the embattled CNA ought to have proceeded on retirement leave since last year as they noted that those who joined the civil service in 1985 had already retired.
They further argued that the “amended” rule sequel to hurried passage of the ‘Retirement age and conditions of service’ has not been assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“You were all part of the Eighth National Assembly and we are sure you witnessed how this amendment was secretly effected increasing the retirement age of National Assembly staff from 60 to 65 years and years of pensionable service from 35 to 40 years, contrary to civil service rules.”
Further investigation revealed that irked by the development, the leadership of both chambers of the National Assembly has since asked the chairman of the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC), Ahmed Kadi Amshi, to investigate the allegations of a forged amended Service Rule.
Public Service Reports abserved that a meeting of the commissioners of the NASC has been slated for after the Sallah period to take a position on the amended rule.
“The commission may force the clerk and other senior staff of the National Assembly due for retirement but desperate to negotiate extension relying on the unpopular amendment to be forced out of office,” said A senior staff of the NASS however dismissed the furore over tenure extension as a storm in a tea cup.
He said, “the amendment of the service rule is not a Bill and doesn’t need a presidential assent to be effective.”
He further claimed that the rules applicable to civil servants don’t apply to National Assembly staff.
“The Parliament is an independent arm of government, “ he submitted.