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Sen. U-turns And Approves Bill To Prolong The Tenure of National Assembly Employees

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A bill to increase the tenure of National Assembly employees from 60 to 65 years has been approved by the Senate. After being rejected on February 22, the bill was passed by the House of Representatives and was presented to the Senate for concurrence during plenary on Thursday. Senate Leader Bamidele Opeyemi (APC, Ekiti) re-presented the proposed legislation, titled “A Bill for an Act to make provision for retirement age of staff of National Assembly Service and For Other related Matters,” for approval.

Opeyemi, while leading the debate, said that corrections had been made on the bill with proper and more extensive inputs in the various clauses.

He said special regards had also been paid to global best practices, including the definition of who a legislative officer is in civilised and more advanced democracies, especially the United States and the United Kingdom.

“These countries had adopted the standard we want to adopt, in terms of need to establish and strengthen institutional memories by ensuring a certain retirement age threshold for legislative officials,” he said.

Opeyemi said he had done a lead debate and hence, urged the Senate to pass the bill for concurrence.

During the February 22 debate, senators fiercely opposed the bill. Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe questioned whether the National Assembly’s employees—who were hired by the National Assembly Service Commission, or NASC—were any different from those employed by other government agencies to the point where their service should be extended. The bill’s sponsor provided arguments emphasizing specialization, but the former deputy governor of Abia State criticized them, stating that nothing unique about National Assembly employees justified the 10th Assembly taking on the role.

In a similar spirit, Borno South senator Ali Ndume opposed the bill, stating that it would not be just to future generations of lawmakers if the Senate upheld the interests of a small number of people encapsulated in it.

 

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