Tension in NASS over severance allowance - Breaking News in Nigeria today 247 | TheWatchNGR


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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Tension in NASS over severance allowance

Barring any last minute change, the leadership of the National Assembly may pass a no confidence vote on the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani Omolori, Daily Sun has learnt.

It was learnt that during the meeting, both parties disagreed on issues relating to illegal recruitment into the National Assembly by the clerk, alleged tenure elongation of Omolori and contract awards without recourse to due process.

A source said the meeting was called at the behest of Lawan. Omolori who was invited to brief Lawan on recruitments made without approvals from the National Assembly Service Commission, was reported to have absolved himself from blames regarding the exercise.

It was learnt that Lawan queried the clerk on why he was yet to offset the severance package of aides to senators who served between 2015-2019.

However, an angry Lawan shouted at the clerk and threatened to get him out of office, even as Omolori reportedly dismissed Lawan’s threat and insisted that all he did were in compliance with the rules governing his office.

Prior to Omolori’s invitation, a former chairman of the National Assembly Service Commission, Adamu Fika, was asked to furnish the Senate President with information on the recruitments.

Fika, who dissociated himself from the exercise, said recruitments were done without the knowledge of the National Assembly Service Commission.

The tenure of the last chairman and members of the National Assembly Service Commission ended July, 2018.  In January this year, former president of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, forwarded names of proposed members of the Commission to President Muhammadu Buhari in accordance with the constitution.

President Buhari did not send names to the National Assembly for confirmation before the expiration of the last Senate. Saraki in the list, had recommended a former senator, Joy Emordi, as chairman.

Five months into the tenure of Lawan as president of the Senate, Buhari is yet to send the names to the upper legislative chamber. No replacement has so far been announced by Lawan.

In the absence of a substantive Commission, the continuous stay of Omolori in power may not be challenged. Only the Commission can sanction or compel him to proceed on terminal leave.

When contacted Director of Information, National Assembly, Rawlings Emmanuel Agada, said he was unaware of the issues raised.

Meanwhile, the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives have waded into the non-payment of severance allowances for legislative aides who served in the Eighth National Assembly between 2015 and 2019.

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, met with Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed of the debt.

The meeting, which was held behind closed doors, was also attended by principal officers of the Senate and House of Representatives.

Also present at the meeting was the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze.

Lawan,said the essence of the meeting was to clear the backlog of debts owed the legislative aides.

“The tenure of legislative aides employed by the National Assembly Commission and posted to members of the National Assembly is tied to the tenure of the National Assembly. Therefore, they are entitled to severance allowance,” he said.

According to Lawan, prior to the intervention by both chambers, the Senate leadership last week had a meeting with the management of the National Assembly and the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) led by chairman of the Commission, Elias Mbam.

“It is only fair that we give them what is due to them (aides). We realise there was need to bring on board for this discussion the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the National Assembly Service Commission as well, so that in this meeting we are able to discuss and finalise where the source of the severance allowance for the legislative aides will be.

“And the presence of both chambers here tells us that this is a matter that affects the entire National Assembly.

“All the aides of the Senators and House of representatives who completed their assignment are affected on both sides. That is why the principal officers of both chambers are here,” Lawan said.

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