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Tenure controversy: NASS staff demand immediate removal of Sani-Omolori, others to save institution

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Some staff of the National Assembly on Tuesday called for the immediate removal of Mr Mohammed Sani-Omolori, as the Clerk of the National Assembly and about 150 others over allegation of illegal tenure elongation of additional five years to their year of service. I

The staff, under the umbrella of “Concerned Staff of National Assembly” in a letter of appeal made available to journalists in Abuja described continuous stay of Sani-Omolori and some senior directors in office as “a gross violation of the 1999 Constitution of the FRN, as amended, the Public Service Act, National Assembly Service Commission Act and the Pension Commission Act,”

They particularly called on the Chairman of the National Assembly Service Commission, Engr. Ahmed Kadi Amshi and his entire board to save the nation’s legislature from destruction.

They demanded from the board an immediate issueance of a circular stopping the affected staff from parading themselves as staff, in line with extant civil service regulations.

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“We appeal to all our colleagues due for retirement to honourably quit with immediate effect in order to preserve the legislative integrity of the National Assembly.

“The above appeal is predicated on the flagrant breaches and gross violation of all known laws governing permanent staff in the service of the National Assembly of the Federation as evidenced from the submissions made by eminent citizens and former CNA cum immediate past chairman NASC, Dr Adamu Fika and the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr (Mrs) Folasade Esan.

“We appeal to the chairman and his commissioners to do the needful by way of issuing a circular to all staff overdue for retirement to quit with immediate effect and stop further waste of government’s resources in line with Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution,”

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The staff appealed to the board to ensure that legislative staff who have prerequisite trainings and experience are henceforth allowed to occupy the offices of the National Assembly Clerk, that of the Senate and House of Representatives.

“If the fundamental duty of lawmakers is to make law as admitted by the advocate of non-legislative officers, then trained and experienced legislative directors should be made clerk of either the Senate, House or NASS.

“If not, why is public funds expended on legislative officers’ training on legislative practices and procedures? Then what becomes of their accumulated knowledge and experience?

“It will be a disservice not only to the legislative institution but our great nation for non-legislative officers to be appointed as either clerk of senate, House of Representatives or Clerk to National Assembly,”

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It will be recalled that the 8th Assembly at its twilight upheld a resolution which sought to extend the retirement age of National Assembly staff from 60 to 65 years.

However, in the ensuing crisis occasioned by the development, the Head of Service Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, on July 7, declared that the elongation as not in conformity with civil service rules.

She said that “In specific terms, Section 318 (1) of the constitution states that ‘public service of the federation means the service of any capacity in respect of the Government of the Federation and includes as (a) clerk or other staff of the National Assembly or of each House of the National Assembly.”

Yemi-Esan added that public service rules “prescribes attachment of 60 years of age or 35 years of service for an officer to retire, whichever comes earlier,”

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