Possible tensions are escalating within the National Assembly as the Senate considers a controversial bill aimed at extending the retirement age for civil servants, sparking fierce resistance from staff members and workers’ unions.

The Senate’s move to grant concurrence to a bill seeking to extend the retirement age from 60 to 65 years for National Assembly Service staff, alongside an increase from 35 to 40 years of service, has stirred discontent among employees.

The bill, which passed third reading in the House of Representatives, faces staunch opposition from staff members apprehensive about its ramifications.

Documents reveal that the proposed extension could significantly prolong the tenure of key figures like the current Clerk to the National Assembly, Sani Tambawal Magaji, who has been in service for 34 years and is due for retirement in April 2024. If passed, the bill would allow Magaji and others to remain in office beyond their anticipated retirement dates.

Previous attempts to push similar legislation since 2017 have been met with resistance from staff unions, including the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN).

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The union argues that such extensions contradict established retirement age regulations and could hinder career progression for younger employees. Moreover, they contend that perpetuating long-serving individuals in office obstructs opportunities for youth employment and contradicts government policies on youth empowerment.

Despite previous setbacks, the current management, led by Clerk Magaji Sani Tambawal, is determined to push the bill forward.

However, a vocal group of staff members has raised concerns about potential compromises within the union leadership, accusing them of aligning with management to further personal interests.In response to the Senate’s reconsideration of the bill, staff members are calling for its rejection, citing persisting concerns over youth unemployment and the welfare of National Assembly employees.

They urge the Senate to prioritize the public and national interest by shelving the contentious proposal and focusing instead on improving workers’ welfare and addressing longstanding salary grievances.