Fred Itua, Abuja
Crisis is brewing in the National Assembly over alleged tenure elongation of the Clerk, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, and other senior staff by the immediate-past board of the Parliament’s Service Commission.
The crisis, which began since the current Clerk to the National Assembly, Sani-Omolori assumed office, maybe far from over.
According to documents made available to Sunday Sun, the condition of service of National Assembly staff was amended at the twilight of the 8th National Assembly, where a Bill entitled ‘Retirement age and conditions of service’ was ‘smuggled’ in by the last leadership.
According to 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.
It was learnt that the ‘amended’ rule is being implemented without the assent of President Muhammadu Buhari, as required by law.
According to details of the controversial document, the Clerk to the National Assembly, Sani-Omolori and other officers are expected to remain in office for another four to five years, despite attaining the legal age for retirement.
For instance, the Clerk, Sani-Omolori, born in June of 1961, got into the Civil Service in February 1985. However, based on the rule being implemented and not approved by the president, he is now expected to stay for another five years, despite attaining the compulsory 35 years in service.
A document seen by Sunday Sun, showed that 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 again transferred his services to the National Assembly in February, 1991 as a Principal Legal Officer on Level 12.
Forces opposed to his continuous stay in office argued that he ought to have proceeded on retirement leave last year, but has remained in office despite the fact that those who joined the Civil Service in February 1985 had already retired.
“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.
Sunday Sun has gathered that the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, who are disturbed by the development, have instructed the chairman of the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC), Ahmed Kadi Amshi to act on the allegations of a forged amended Service Rule.
The Commission’s chairman, it was further learnt, has called for a meeting of commissioners, who are expected to take a position after the Sallah break. The Commission, sources have hinted, may compel the embattled Clerk, Sani-Omolori to vacate office.
The ‘amended’ rule may also be jettisoned by the Commission and other senior staff of the National Assembly due for retirement will be forced out of office.
Unilateral promotions made by the Clerk without recourse to the Commission may also be reviewed and those affected will be demoted. New employments carried out by the Clerk without an existing Commission may also be affected.
Reacting, Director of Information, National Assembly, Rawlings Emmanuel, said that the amendment of the service rule is not a Bill and doesn’t need a presidential assent to be effective.
He said that the rules applicable to civil servants do not apply to National Assembly staff, adding that the staff are regarded as public servants while the parliament is an independent arm.