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Senate rejects 65-yr retirement age bill for N/Assembly workers

The Senate on Thursday rejected a bill seeking the extension of retirement age for National Assembly staff to 65 years. The bill seeks an extension…

The Senate on Thursday rejected a bill seeking the extension of retirement age for National Assembly staff to 65 years.

The bill seeks an extension of the retirement age of staff of the National Assembly Service from 60 to 65 years of age and from 35 to 40 years in service whichever comes earlier.

The bill, if it scaled through, would extend the service years of over 200 workers who are due to retire between 2024 and 2026 including the current clerk, Sani Magaji Tambawal, according to records from the National Assembly.

It was passed in the House of Representatives in December 2023 and transmitted to the Senate for concurrence in line with parliamentary procedures.

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The controversial “Harmonised Retirement Age for Staff of the National Assembly Service Bill” had split workers in the federal parliament.

While some vehemently opposed the extension of service years, arguing that it would affect the career progression of junior workers, others backed it, saying it would give staff the opportunity to grow for better service delivery.

The Senate, however, stepped down the bill after the majority of lawmakers spoke against the extension during debate.

Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (APGA, Abia) said passing the bill would stop the career progression of junior staff and stall the employment of young Nigerians who desire to work in the parliament.

He said the argument that the legislative staff should be allowed to stay beyond 60 years or 35 years of service because they have expertise in parliamentary procedures was not tenable.

Abaribe said a large part of the work in the parliament was done by lawmakers, who are replaced after four years.

Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno) cautioned his colleagues and urged them to do more consultation before taking action on the bill.

Senator Muntari Dandutse (Katsina) also spoke against extending the service years for legislative staff, saying passing the bill will create a vacuum. And other ministry workers would also be asking for an extension.

Only senators Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti) and Suleiman Kawu Sumaila (Kano) spoke in support of the bill.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio, in his remark, described the proposed legislation as controversial and advised that it should be stepped down for further consultation.

He therefore put the bill to a voice vote and a majority of senators rejected it.

 

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