Fresh row over NASS Clerk’s tenure

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The National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) is insisting on getting the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Ataba Sani-Omolori, to proceed on retirement in line with the existing length of service and retirement age conditions in the public service.

Omolori joined the National Assembly Service in 1985 and is already due for retirement. But he remains in service following the extension of length of service for NASS management officials from 35 to 40 years and from 60 years of age to 65.

About 150 officials have been penciled down for retirement under the existing conditions of service.

The House of Representatives has dissociated itself from alleged moves to send over 150 senior directors of the National Assembly on retirement.

The amendment to the conditions was done by the management of the National Assembly a few days to the end of the tenure of ex-President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara.

It was learnt that the leadership of the National Assembly may meet tomorrow to resolve the row over the retirement age.

Related news: Furore over N37bn NASS renovation

These details emerged in a memo presented to House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila by NASC against the backdrop of the dust raised by the exit date of Sani-Omolori.

The Clerk cites the amendment of the conditions of service as his reason for remaining in office.

The amendment is disputed by the NASC which says the management has no right to draw its own conditions of service.

It also gave an insight into the “conspiracy which led to the alteration of the retirement age.”

In a memo “Forwarding  a Memorandum on the Review of Conditions of Service or the National Assembly Service”, the Executive Chairman of the commission, Engr. Ahmed Kadi Amshi, said the amendment was not  appropriate.

It was addressed to the Senate President and the House of Reps Speaker.

He said: “Your Excellency may wish to recall that the 4th National Assembly Service Commission, herein after referred to as NASC, under the chairmanship of Dr. Adamu Fika, initiated the review of the conditions of service for the National Assembly Service, where it submitted draft amendment to the then Rt. Hon. Speaker of the 8th Assembly vide its letter Ref. No. NASC/CHO/SP-HR/11/1/96 dated 23rd March, 2018.

“Among the recommendations of the 4th NASC was the retention of the retirement age of 35 years of service or attainment of 60 years of age, whichever comes first for the staff of the National Assembly Service as contained in the 2002 Condition of Service and also applicable to the Public Service of the Federation.

“The 4th NASC could not conclude the amendments up to the time its tenure expired in July 2018.

“The management of NASC, and not the commission, acting under no directives from the commission continued with the process and thereafter altered the retirement age of the staff of the National Assembly, contrary to the submission of NASC, and was subsequently changed to 40 years of service or attainment of 65 years of age, whichever comes first, indicating an upward review of additional five(5) years in service, which brought disunity among the staff of the National Assembly Service as there was no constituted NASC as at then.

“The 8th Senate was of the same view with NASC on retaining the retirement age at thirty five (35) years of service or sixty (60) years of age, but the House of Representatives aligned with the upward adjustment to 40 years of service or 65 years of age.

“It was at the harmonization stage that the position of the House of Representatives was adopted and a Resolution was passed to that effect in May, 2019, at the verge of the end of the tenure of the 8” National Assembly.

“As at the time the resolution was passed by the 8” National Assembly, the National Assembly Service Commission was not reconstituted, but the management of NASC and NASS went ahead to Gazette the Resolution on 28″ May, 2019 and printed new Conditions of Service for National Assembly Service of which only a constituted NASC has the power to do so. This is clearly stated in section 19 (1) of the NASC Act, 2014.

“Furthermore, both the Management of NASC and NASS went ahead to implement only the retirement age aspect of the Condition of Service, leaving all other recommendations unattended to.”

There were indications on Saturday that the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila and other leaders were worried over the retirement age row which has split the management and staff of the National Assembly.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The National Assembly leadership may meet on Monday to resolve issues behind the crisis of confidence.

“The challenge at hand is that there are many vested interests and the issue getting complicated. Even security agencies are looking into the matter.”

House of Reps to NASC: Count us out of plot to sack Clerk to NASS, Sani-Omolori, 150 others

The House of Representatives has dissociated itself from alleged moves to send over 150 senior directors of the National Assembly on compulsory retirement.

The Nation learnt that one of those penciled down for sack over alleged illegal extension of their tenure include the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Ataba Sani-Omolori.

However, the green chamber of the National Assembly in a June 4, 2020 letter to the Chairman of the National Assembly Commission (NASC), said it has resolved not to rescind the 8th Assembly Resolution on the retirement age of the 8th Assembly Staff.

The letter with reference number: NASS/HR/LEG/14/3/30 and entitled: “Re: Forwarding of memorandum on the review of condition of service for the National Assembly Service” was signed by the Clerk, House of Representatives, Mr. Patrick A. Giwa.

Read also: National Assembly workers threaten to embark on strike over working conditions

It  reads: “I write to convey to you that the Leadership of the House has received and deliberated on the above subject as contained in your letter dated June 1, 2020 vide NASC/CHO/PS/11/11/94 and resolved as follows:

“The entire Leaderdhip of the House of Representatives cannot rescind the 8th Assembly Resolution on the retirement age of 8th Assembly Staff; and

“Therefore, the House of Representatives maintains the position of the 8th Assembly as contained in the Condition of Service jointly passed by that Assembly.

“Above is for your information and guidance. This supersedes any other letter on this subject matter, please.”

It the second of such letter in a week from the House of Representatives on the matter.

The first one was dispatched  Wednesday and purportedly signed by the Chief of Staff to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

It contained a similar message to the Chairman of the NASC.

However, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, in a statement by his spokesman, Lanre Lasisi, denied authorizing the letter.

He urged members of the public to disregard it.

Lasisi, in the statement dated June 3, 2020 and entitled: “Speaker Gbajabiamila Denies Purported Letter on extension of Year of Service for Some NASS Staff”

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“The attention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has been drawn to a letter purportedly emanating from his office allegedly stating his endorsement of the new Condition of Service for National Assembly staff passed by the 8th Assembly

“The Speaker wishes to inform the  general public that there was no time he directed issuance of such purported letter from his office as there is a recognized and authorized channel for all correspondences and resolutions reached by the House or its leadership.

“The Speaker also wishes to call on the general public to disregard the letter and always rely on official communication channels of the House for news on the position of the House on any matter.”

The 8th Assembly had  reviewed the Conditions of Service of National Assembly Staff which extended the retirement age or years of service of the workers.

Consequent on the amendment of the Conditions of Service, the retirement period  for public servants in the National Assembly was moved from 35 to 40 years while retirement age was upgraded from 60 to 65 years.

There are alleged moves by the NASC to reverse the amendment to the condition of service by asking those affected including Sani-Omolori and about 150 senior directors of the National Assembly to proceed on retirement.

The NASC had set up a committee to review the amendments after which it forwarded its recommendation to the presiding officers of both chambers for their input.

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