Nigerians have continued to react to the reported sack of the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Sani Omolori and 160 other officers including the secretary of the national assembly by the National Assembly Service Commission.
In his reaction, a two-time former Commissioner of Information of Kogi State, Dr. Tom Ohikere, has advocated that the import of the productivity of civil servants and its contribution to the system should be considered before disengaging them from the system in the name of compulsory retirement.
Ohikere argued that it is wasteful to compel productive workers to retire at an arbitrary chronological age despite the resolution of the 8th National Assembly on the conditions of service of staffs which raised retirement age from 60 to 65 years and years of service from 35 to 40.
The public affairs analyst said he found it intriguing that the National Assembly Service Commission could unilaterally go ahead to take a decision when it was crystal clear that the leadership of the 9th National Assembly was still looking into the position being canvassed by the commission.
“The Resolution of the 8th National Assembly on the Conditions of Service of Staff has not been rescinded nor abdicated by the National Assembly, who under the authentic National Assembly Service Act 2014 as passed is empowered to review any proposed amendment to the Conditions of Service by the Commission.”
“In Nigeria the retirement age for Judges, University Professors and Registrars was raised to 70, and 65 for other academics. The Daily Trust on June 6, 2019, reported that the Federal Government was considering raising the retirement age to 65 for school teachers.
The Federal Ministry of Finance said it will not oppose a Bill to that effect and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Barrister Yakubu Dogara, assured visiting leaders of the Nigerian Union of Teachers that the National Assembly would support it.
In a tacit way, under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the retirement age of some Federal Permanent Secretaries was raised by at least one year. The official reason was to enable them put new Ministers through on policies and ensure smoothness in implementing those policies,” Ohikere averred.
He argued further that it is unjustifiable for the National assembly service commission to attempt to set aside an amendment that was passed by the 8th National Assembly because of a targeted interest, adding that Nigeria will not continue to be overwhelmed by personal interest of some section which do not represent the interest of the country.
In continuing, Ohikere stated that another reason for raising the retirement age in some countries is largely the inadequacy of money to cater for a large number of retirees, especially from ever shrinking budgetary provisions from which the defined benefit system is funded.
“From 2007 to date, over 80 countries around the world have raised the retirement age for their workers. The retirement age in Libya was raised to 70 years in 2017. Most of Europe is moving toward fixing 67 years as the age of retirement. The retirement age is 68 in the Netherlands,” he argued.