March 4, 2024

How Senate passed bill raising retirement age of NASS workers to 65 years 

[Video] Details: Revelation on some Senators getting ‘N500m’ each tears Senate apart

Senate setting

… National Assembly clerk among first beneficiaries 

By Victor AhiumaYoung

THE Senate has made a sharp U-turn to pass the controversial retirement bill that seeks to extend the retirement of the National Assembly staff to 65 years of age or 40 years of service, whichever comes first and across the 36 State Houses of Assembly. 

The passage of the bill came exactly one week after the same Senate had thrown out the bill, describing it as controversial.

The Bill titled, “A bill for an Act to make provisions for the retirement age of staff of National Assembly Service and for other related Matters, 2024.( HB.529) and brought for discussion by the Senate  Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele,  was read the third time on Thursday after the Committee of the Whole and passed.

The passed bill  would extend the service years of over 200 workers due to retire between 2024 and 2026, of which the current Clerk to the National Assembly,  CNA, Sani Tambawal, would be one of the first beneficiaries.

The bill seeks to increase the retirement age from 60 years to 65 years and from 35 to 40 years of service.

Against the backdrop that it was a bill for concurrence  having being passed by the House of Representatives,  the Deputy Senate President,  Senator Jibrin Barau, after the passage, set a conference Committee, with the Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele as the Chairman. 

Other members of the Conference Committee that will meet to harmonise with the House of Representatives are Senators  Ifeanyi Ubah, and Adamu Aliero, among others.

Recall that the Senate had Thursday last week, thrown out the controversial retirement bill after the Senate had earlier dismissed the bill and rejected it. 

Majority of Senators heavily opposed the bill when it was brought out for discussion as concurrence last week by the Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele,  just as they argued  that it would stop the career progression of junior staff and halt employment of young Nigerians.

It was later stepped down with the President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio describing it as controversial that required further consultations.

Following the voices against the bill by the Senators, the Senate had no option than to  step down the  controversial bill.

The  bill had during the 8th and 9th Assemblies suffered setbacks after various stakeholders opposed it, arguing that the extension of the retirement age from 60 to 65 years and 35 service years to 40 years would create redundancy and stagnation among the workers.

Earlier in his lead debate on the general principles of the bill, the Senate leader who noted that the bill sought to make provisions for the harmonised retirement age for legislative officers of the National Assembly, said, “Considering the importance of the legislative service, the passage of the bill into law, will strengthen the legislature as an arm of government.

“This bill is geared towards making provisions for the retirement age of legislative officers who as staff of the National Assembly. The provision does not include the following; Drivers, porters, cleaners, security guards, messengers, typists, craftsmen, mechanics, clerical officers, gardeners, stewards and or cooks.”

Workers at the National Assembly under the aegis of Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria, PASAN had called for the extension of their retirement to 65 years of age or 40 years of service.

Retirement age in the federal civil service is 60 years or 35 years in service, whichever comes first.

In a statement, Chairman of PASAN,  Sunday Sabiyi, among others, called on  the Senate to pass the bill into law, arguing that  the extension of number of service years or retirement age was expedient as there was a dearth of qualified staff in the Legislature resulting from interruption of democracy by Nigeria’s military.

Sabiyi claimed the legislature, which has always been the victim in the event of military takeover of government, had been affected by instability in the career progression of its workers.

Vanguard News