“24 Lawyers Ready To Challenge Those Trying To Halt The Bill Extending Tenure Of Staff Of The National Assembly”

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…Afuye Clement, Chairman, Alliance for Credible Legislative Conduct

Afuye Clement, Chairman of Alliance for Credible Legislative Conducts ( ACLC), a non Governmental Organization ( NGO), based on Abuja, has said that about 24 lawyers are ready to challenge the injunctions being sought by those who have approached an Abuja High Court, to halt the Bill extending the tenure of staff of the National Assembly, if granted,

Afuye Clement, who was reacting swiftly to a move by some individuals who recently approached a Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja: that the Bill extending retirement age of staff of the National Assembly from 60 to 65 years should be halted, declared via a press release he gave to journalists on Wednesday March 26th, 2024, in Abuja,

According to the content of the press release:

“As close watchers of the activities of the National Assembly, the attention of the Alliance For Credible Legislative Conduct (ACLC) has been drawn to a move by some disgruntled elements, who recently approached a Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja: that the Bill extending retirement age of staff of the National Assembly from 60 to 65 years should be halted.

“This latest development is nothing but part of a concerted push by a gang of recklessly daring and desperate individuals who are hell bent on truncating this wonderful Bill presently before President Bola Tinubu.

“We are not surprised that this latest approach has failed woefully to offer any superior new insight, into their despicable script against this altruistic Bill designed for the benefits of staff of the National Assembly.

“It is our position that the recent application of this faceless group is incompetent, vexatious; an academic exercise, deliberately plotted to waste the previous time of the judiciary.

“In confronting this ridiculous and baseless development being sought by these enemies of the National Assembly, twenty four (24) lawyers, have indicated their readiness to challenge this unwarranted injunction pro bono, if granted by the High Court.

“It is very clear that this latest affront is being propelled and sponsored by some over ambitious personalities who are not only hollow in their presentations, but do not mean well for the health and progress of the National Assembly.

” By virtue of Sections 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, “the legislative powers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be vested in the National Assembly; the National Assembly has powers to make laws for the order and good governance of the country.

” With respect to item 53 of Second Schedule, Part 1 of the Exclusive Legislative List, the National Assembly has exclusive legislative powers on matters of public service of the federation, including the settlement of disputed between the federation and officers of such service.

“On whether having regard to the provision of Section 318 of the Constitution (supra) the staff of the National Assembly did not fall within the purview of the description of who can be referred to as a public servant?
The answer is a definitive yes. However, the question is not on the description of the object, but on the powers of the subject. As has been shown above, the National Assembly has the powers to make laws regarding the public service of the federation.

“Secondly, Section 318 of the Constitution is merely an interpretation section. It did not provide any substantive prescriptive or prohibitive regulations on the public service of the federation.

“On whether having regard to the provisions of Rule 020998 of the Public Service Rules (2021), if it is legal for the National Assembly to with uttermost disregard to the above provision and without first amending the Constitution, extend the retirement age of it’s staff?

“Firstly, the Public Service Rules are sets of administrative guide for the efficient engagement of the personnel of the service. It is NOT a law on the level of an ACT of the National Assembly and cannot override the provisions of an Act validly passed by the National Assembly.

“Secondly, since there were neither constitutional provisions nor existing Act that require amendment, there is nothing for the National Assembly to amend before passing the Act extending the age of service of its personnel.

“Finally, it is a trite law that an organ of government cannot take steps to bind, obstruct or hamper the exercise of the function of another organ. So the court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the application in the first place.