Retirement age: Group begs Senate to reject bill

The fight between the management of the National Assembly and some aggrieved staff, has taken a new twist, following the stepping down on a Concurrence Bill in the Senate on Extension of retirement age from 60 to 65 years.

On Sunday, a document revealed that some members of the union in the National Assembly, allegedly signed a communique, endorsing the extension of service bill.

Responding on Monday, a leading civil society group, Foundation for Rights Enforcement, Enlightenment and Defence, said Clerk to the National Assembly, Magaji Sani Tambawal, was behind the move to extend his stay in office, less than one year to the end of his tenure in office.

Leader of the group, Mohammed Saidu, challenged the Clerk and other members of the union to reveal details of their terms of service when they joined the National Assembly bureaucracy.

Saidu said: “This time, we want to put it to the Clerk that he is misleading the 10th Assembly, using a compromised union to pursue his personal ambition of breaching the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria .

“It is only the Clerk that thinks that the union has the capacity to regulate their service year. The same Clerk during the election of the Senate president, Godswill Akpabio, he jettisoned the Senate rule on ranking, but rather use the 1999 constitution as amended.

“Today, the same Clerk wants to mislead the 10th Assembly by lobbying the National Assembly on a matter that is against the constitution.
“Ask the Clerk did he not summon a meeting of the management of National Assembly and the Agenda was 65 years and 40 years?
Ask the Clerk, did he not micro-manage the sham congress presided over by the permanent secretary, Human Resources, Birma Shaibu Maina whose records of service shows that he was born on 22/7/1964 and date of first appointment 12/11/1993?

“This man is supposed to proceed on leave April this year. What do you expect from such a congress? Ask the Clerk who sponsored the public hearing that was done without any advert and was done the day the Nigerian labour congress went on strike?

“Ask the Clerk who is lobbying senators and members of the House of Representatives with gifts in form of aides appointed?
This same Clerk and other permanent secretaries who are penciled for retirement this year joined the union in rejecting the controversial bill in the past. Today, they want to mislead the 10th Assembly to pass a law that is at variance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Finally, we call on the Senate to kill this controversial bill in accordance with the Council on Establishment at its 45th meeting held December, 2023 in Bauchi. For the umpteenth, time reject outrightly the request for upward review of retirement age for public servants to 40 years and 60 years of age with the view that it is contrary to national aspirations of Renewed Hope, youth development, innovation and also in tandem with the reality of our population dynamics.”