Reps Approve 65 Years Of Age, 40 Years Of Service For NASS Staff, Others
The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a new retirement age for National Assembly staff, as well as their counterparts in States Houses of Assembly, to 65 years of age and 40 years of service, whichever comes first.
The Bill was listed for consideration on Tuesday and approved by the Committee of the Whole presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase, despite not having gone through public hearing as the Rules of the House require as an important stage of lawmaking in the Parliament.
The controversial document which was quietly reintroduced in the 9th House had become invalid following the compulsory retirement of the former Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani Omolori, who successfully had the extension of service approved by the 8th Assembly under Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara as presiding officers.
Sources have alleged that the current efforts is being pushed by the current Clerk, Arc. Amos Olatunde Ojo, who benefited from the ousting of his predecessor, Mohammed Sank Omolori.
Titled, “the Harmonized Retirement Age for Staff of Legislative Houses in Nigeria Bill, 2021,” the report which was presented by the House Majority Whip, Mohammed Their Monguno (APC, Borno) is made up of five clauses.
In clause 1 dealing with application, the Bill seeks to “apply throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Clause 2 which deals with retirement age of staff of legislative houses states that “staff of legislative houses in Nigeria shall compulsorily retire in attainment of 65 years of age and 40 years of pensionable service, whichever is earlier.”
Clause 3 deals with ‘Non Application of Public Service Rules,’ stating that “any law or the Public Service Rules requiring a person to retire from the Public Service at 60 years of age or after 35 years shall not apply to staff of legislative houses in Nigeria.”
In clause 4 dealing with interpretation, the Bill refers to Legislative Houses as “the National and State Houses of Assembly; just as it refers to Public Service as “having th meaning ascribed to it in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Clause 5 however refers to the title which shall be cited as presented in the gazette.
Recall that the 8th Assembly had via a motion approved the extension of service for the staff of legislative houses, with a particular focus on the National Assembly.
However, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, upon assuming office as Chairman of the National Assembly moved against the contraption by insisting that the former CNA, Omolori and all those due for retirement must proceed as expected.
Lawan and the leadership of the National Assembly Service Commission led by Alhaji Ahmed Kadi Amshi faulted the process leading to the so-called extension of service, arguing that there was no formal amendment to the National Assembly Service Establishment Act causing such an extension and signed by the President.
Consequently, it is yet to be established if the current Bill just considered by the House will survive an integrity test as a law that’s independent of the National Assembly Service Establishment Act, since it’s not amending the Act.
Perhaps, interpretative analysis of the provisions by legal minds in the coming days would throw adequate lights on the legitimacy of the current legislative efforts.