A human right activist, Barr Victor Egwim has called on leadership of the two arms of the legislature to expedite action on the process that will lead to full implementation of the revised National Assembly condition of service.
Egwim, in a statement stated that the move by some faceless groups calling for its suspension is not only anti-democratic but politically motivated by selfish individuals with ulterior motives.
He called on the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, for rapid intervention, adding that the commission has to be rescued from the hands of enemies of democracy.
He said; “The new regulation has been in operation since the 8th Assembly and currently being adopted at the State Houses of Assembly. The revised condition for service was targeted at putting the Nigeria Parliamentary Workers at par with international standard.”
He pointed out that the call for suspension of the reviewed conditions of service was a calculated attempt in witch-hunting the head of NASS Bureaucracy, stressing that it looks like the overall head is the target.
He expressed that the current leadership should be commended for its innovation.
He said; “The current leadership of NASS workers have no doubt proven their worth by its prompt delivery on the following projects, which includes; construction of long-abandoned and disused car park, construction and opening of the Arterial road within the NASS complex, rehabilitation of the water supply system, erosion control works at the police gate of NASS complex, provision of security gadgets to enhance security and security surveillance, provision of uninterrupted internet access and back-up, automation of NASS offices, ongoing renovation of NASS complex, enhanced trainings, and ongoing negotiation to boost power supply to the NASS complex amongst others.”
According to the statement; “A Commissioner, National Assembly Commission, from the North Central State, said, we resumed as Commissioners the February 2020, and when we came in, we discovered that there is a new service condition in place, and we are also aware that the current Senate President was the leader when this amendment was made, and the current Speaker was also the leader of the House when this amendment was made.
“During this period, when the report got to the Senate, they thought it wise to make it 40 years of service and 65 years retirement age. We all know that the legislature is the youngest arm of government, because it is just about 21 years old, as it took effect when Chief Olusegun Obasanjo became the president, while the Executive and the Judiciary have been in existence since 1960.
“They discovered that the retirement age of 35 years and 60 years does not allow the officers to give back to the commission after being trained. This is because when they are supposed to be at the peak of their service, they would be exiting the service because of age the retirement age. However, the commission ends up calling them back as consultants and pay them ten times more than their annual salaries, which is not healthy for the nation.
“Moreover, the Union embraced it and agreed that it is better to extend service years instead of wasting money to hire them as consultants after retirement, so that they can render the services needed maximally before they can retire. That was why Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), initiated the amendment. PASAN stated the fact that in the Judiciary, the judges retire at the age of between 70 t0 75, and that in the tertiary institutions, Professors retire between 70 to 75 years, and in the health institutions, medical professors retire between 70 to 75 years, which necessitated them to increase the retirement age of parliamentary workers since they are very specific.
“The NASS which was headed by Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbjabiamila concurred and amended it. So it was amended for the benefit of everyone, and not for any specific individual. Obstructing the implementation is not in the interest of the national service, but for selfish reasons.”