The Clerk to the National Assembly, Alhaji Mohammed Sani-Omolori, and the National Assembly Service Commission appear set for a showdown over the service tenure of Sani-Omolori and 150 other members of staff of the legislature.
The Civil Service Rule provides a retirement age of 60 years or a length of service of 35 years, whichever comes first.
This newspaper learnt that Sani-Omolori and the 150 others met the requirement in February this year and ought to have proceeded on retirement already.
However, they are still in service, banking on a “Revised Conditions of Service for National Assembly” passed by the 8th National Assembly (2015-2019). The revised conditions of service put the retirement age at 65 years and the length of service at 40 years, whichever comes first.
But, following the criticisms that greeted the new conditions of service that was “unique” to the legislative workers, the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Folasade Yemi-Esan, described the development as illegal, while the NASC also jettisoned it.
The commission now wants Sani-Omolori and all members of staff, who have either served for 35 years or attained 60 years of age, to proceed on retirement immediately in line with the general civil service rule.
On Wednesday, the commission, through its Chairman, Adamu Fika, asked Sani-Omolori and the 150 others to proceed on retirement.
In his response, the clerk insisted that the retirement age was now 40/65 years and not 35 or 60 years.
He wrote, “The attention of the National Assembly Management has been drawn to a Press Release dated 15th July 2020 signed by the Chairman of the National Assembly Service Commission, informing the general public that the Commission has approved the retirement age of staff of the National Assembly as 35 years of service or 60 years of age whichever comes first.
“The Management of the National Assembly wishes to inform all staff and the general public that the extant regulation as contained in our Revised Conditions of Service duly passed by both Chambers of the 8th National Assembly puts the retirement age of staff at 40 years of service and 65 years of age whichever comes first. The Resolution of the 8th National Assembly on the Conditions of Service of Staff has not been rescinded nor abdicated by the National Assembly, who under the authentic National Assembly Service Act 2014 as passed is empowered to review any proposed amendment to the Conditions of Service by the Commission.”
Challenging the powers of the commission, Sani-Omolori added, “Therefore, the National Assembly Service Commission does not have the powers to set aside the Revised Conditions of Service as passed by the 8th National Assembly.
“The Management had maintained a studied silence in deference to the leadership of the 9th National Assembly who is looking into the position being canvassed by the Commission. It is therefore intriguing that the National Assembly Service Commission has unilaterally gone ahead to take a ‘decision.’
“Management urges all staff to disregard the press release by the Commission and go about their lawful duties.”
A succession battle has raged lately at the National Assembly, polarising the bureaucracy and the political arm along two lines of pro and anti-elongation of Omolori’s tenure.
The commission has the constitutional responsibility of hiring and taking care of your other matters involving staff, including promotion and discipline.