A group, Civil Society Coalition for Parliamentary Reforms (CSPR) has alleged attempts by the ninth National Assembly to alter the resolutions of the eighth Assembly on the conditions of service of staff of National Assembly Service Commission (NASC).
This is even as the group stated that tampering with the resolution without due process could amount to constitutional infringement.
Addressing newsmen on Saturday in Abuja, the convener of the group, Omoluabi Bode Adeyemi said that there are efforts to undermine the laid down rules for what he called pecuniary reasons.
While maintaining that any hasty move to tinker with the new condition of service that extends the retirement age of parliamentary staff from 35 to 40 is illegal, Mr. Adeyemi threatened that the group will not hesitate to take legal actions against the National Assembly leadership.
“The Civil Society Coalition for Parliamentary Reforms (CSCPR) is deeply concerned with the impunity at which the legal frameworks by which we are governed as a country are being altered for pecuniary reasons especially at the most important arm of Nigeria’s democratic experience. Law and order is what distinguishes us from lesser beings. Unfortunately, an attempt to scavenge an escape route for laws we do not find favourable is to say the least preposterous and the temptation to alter it in contravention to the laid down rule is nothing but an undemocratic attempt that is capable of derailing our democratic journey .
“CSCPR is worried that the latest of such illegal moves is the way and manner certain persons in the 9th National Assembly wants to bulldoze into tampering with the resolution of the 8th NASS on the National Assembly Service Commission’s condition of service, particularly the clause extending their retirement age from 35 to 40. We are shocked that of all reformatory amendments effected on NASC condition of service, some external forces have singled out the new retirement age as a subject of concern.
“Elementary knowledge teaches that government is a continuum. It is unconstitutional, illegal and indeed an injury on our democracy to contemplate tampering with this clause or disregard the provisions after it was jointly passed by both chambers of National Assembly” he said.
He also added that the group will not fold its hands and watch the gains made over the years in the legislature destroyed even as he reiterated that all avenues are being explored to deepen the country’s democratic culture.
He alleged that there are attempts by eggheads in the ninth National Assembly to reward political loyalist with public office against the general interest of Nigerians are the parliament in particular.
“At a time all avenues are being explored to deepen the root of our democratic culture, we cannot afford to fold our arms to watch the gains made over the years in the legislature destroyed in our very eyes or allow vested interests to override the spirit and letters of the law. The implication of this is that all enactments of the 9th Assembly are at the mercy of those that will come after it. No country moves forward with such anachronistic impunity.
“We are not oblivious of interests at the 9th NASS that have concluded arrangements to use public offices to reward political loyalists, an attempt that will kill motivation, derail the system and most obviously erode the reservoir of parliamentary service experience gathered over the years. It is important to state that neither the clerk of the National Assembly (CNA), Alhaji Mohammed Sani Omolori nor any of the first phase of about 150 NASC staff has been alleged to have committed infractions in the course of performing their duties. If indeed there is, such persons should be identified and made to account for their actions and not to resort to crude means to disparage a resolution legally made.
“We wish to let the world know that CSCPR will not hesitate to take legal actions to ensure that our laws are obeyed to the later irrespective of who it favours or not” he said.
Earlier, a public affairs analyst, Mojeed Dahiru told SGTV that the legislative arm of government is distinctive among others, adding that it requires stability to enjoy its independence.
A letter signed by the Clerk House of Representatives, Patrick A. Giwa and addressed to the Chairman, National Assembly Service Commission sighted by SGTV partly read, “The entire leadership of the House of Representatives cannot rescind the 8th Assembly resolution on the retirement age of National Assembly Staff and;
“Therefore the House of Representatives maintains the position of the 8th Assembly as contained in the conditions of service jointly passed by that Assembly.
“Above is for your information and guidance. This supersedes any other earlier letter on this subject matter please”.