The constitutional controversy being stirred by the management of National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) is far from being over as their power to retire principal officers of the National Assembly is being questioned by a civil society group, Action For Legislative Reforms.
This is even as the group demanded a retraction of a press release purportedly issued by the Executive Chairman of the Commission, Engr. Ahmed Kadi dated 15th July, 2020 directing staff of the National Assembly Service who have attained 35 years of service or 60 years of age to proceed on retirement.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, the convener of the group, Barr. Chinedum Ogumka expressed surprise that what he called vested interests are attempting to tinker a resolution duly passed by the eighth National Assembly which pegged the retirement age of staff of the National Assembly at 40 years of service or 65 years of age whichever comes first.
He further wondered why the security agencies have not invited Engr. Kadi for questioning for allegedly attempting to undermine a resolution of the NASS through the back door.
“What Engr. Kadi and his co-travellers are attempting to do is not only offensive to the collective sensibility of Nigerians but a slap on the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly.
“We were all in this country when the 8th National Assembly in the full glare and active participation of the current leadership in a Revised Conditions of Service duly passed by both chambers put the retirement age of staff at 40 years of service and 65 years of age which ever comes first.
“Till date, that resolution on the condition of service of National Assembly staff has not been rescinded nor abdicated by the National Assembly, who under the authentic National Assembly Service Act 2014 as passed is empowered to review any proposed amendment to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 condition of service by the commission.
“We are aware that Engr. Kadi and his sponsors will stop at nothing to reward political loyalists with public offices even if such desperations cast a dent on the powers of the National Assembly to exercise it function of lawmaking.
“Most worrisome, the Secretary of the NASC in whose purview it is to issue external communications was relegated to the background, a glaring indication that Engr. Hadi has been hired for a mission” Barr. Ogumka alleged.
The group called on Engr. Hadi to retract his press statement within 7 days or face legal action.
Recall that Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has in June this year issued a letter confirming the extension of the year of service of the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Abubakar Sani Omolori and others in line with the resolution of the 8th National Assembly which he was a member of.
The letter read in part: ‘’I am directed by the entire leadership of the House of Representatives to acknowledge the receipt of your letter on the above dated 1st of June 2020 and have deliberated on it.’’
‘’I am further directed to inform you that the entire leadership of the House of Representatives cannot rescind the 8th Assembly resolution on the retirement age of the National Assembly staff. Therefore, the House of Representatives maintained the position of the 8th Assembly as contained in the Conditions of Service jointly passed by that Assembly.’’