*** The Clerk to the National Assembly ought to have Proceeded on Retirement Leave Last year, Aggrieved Persons
*** Civil for Servants don’t apply to National Assembly staff, the Parliament is an independent arm, NASS Spokesperson
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA – STRONG indications have emerged that crisis over tenure elongation looms at the National Assembly, that if not well managed, is capable of tearing apart the Administrative structure of the Legislative arm.
The issue at stake at the moment is the alleged tenure enlogation of the Clerk to the National Assembly, CNA, Mohammed Sani-Omolori and other senior staff by the immediate-past board of the National Assembly Service Commission.
The crisis as gathered reared began since the current Clerk to the National Assembly, Sani-Omolori assumed office and the matter has come up again, just as forces opposed to his continuous stay in office are buttressing their argument on the fact that he ought to have proceeded on retirement leave last year.
According to them, they are worried over his continued stay in office inspite of the fact that those who joined the Civil Service in February 1985 had already retired.
According to documents obtained weekend, the condition of service of National Assembly staff was amended at the twilight of the 8th National Assembly, where a Bill titled ‘Retirement age and conditions of service’ was ‘smuggled’ in by the last leadership.
In the document, the retirement age for civil servants in the National Assembly was moved from 35 to 40 years, the retirement age upgraded from 60 to 65 years, even as it was gathered that the ‘amended’ rule was being implemented without President Muhammadu Buhari signing it into law in consonnance with the law.
The controversial document was designed to favour the Clerk to the National Assembly, Sani-Omolori and other officers and with the new document, they are expected to remain in office for another four to five years, despite attaining the legal retirement age.
The Clerk to the National Assembly, Sani-Omolori, born in June of 1961, got into the Civil Service in February 1985 and based on the rule being implemented and not approved by President Buhari, he is now expected to stay for another five years, despite attaining the compulsory 35 years in service.
According to a document, the embattled Clerk was the Legal Officer of the Ajaokuta Steel Company in 1985, before he transferred his services to the National Electric Power Authority in 1989.
He later transferred his services to the National Assembly in February, 1991 as a Principal Legal Officer on Level 12.
An aggrieved staff said, “You were all part of the 8th 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,” an aggrieved staff said in confidence.
According to a source, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, who are not comfortable with the development and deeply concerned, have however mandated the chairman of the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC), Ahmed Kadi Amshi to act on the allegations of a forged amended Service Rule.
It was also gathered that Commission’s chairman has called for a meeting of commissioners, who are expected to resume their duty posts after the Sallah break.
According to the Source, the Commission may ask the embattled Clerk, Sani-Omolori to vacate office and the ‘amended’ rule may also be thrown out by the Commission and other senior staff of the National Assembly due for retirement will be forced out of office.
It was also gathered that the Commission would review all the alleged unilateral promotions made by the Clerk without recourse to the Commission and those affected will be demoted. New employments carried out by the Clerk without an existing Commission may also be affected.
But when contacted to react to the unfolding scenario, the Director of Information, National Assembly, Rawlings Emmanuel who noted that the amendment of the service rule is not a Bill and does not require a presidential assent to be effective.
He added that the rules applicable to civil servants don’t apply to National Assembly staff. He said the staff are regarded as public servants and that the Parliament is an independent arm.