The Elites Network for Sustainable Development (ENetSuD), an anti-corruption Civil Society Organisation (CSO), has criticised the contract appointment given to the retired Clerk to the Kwara House of Assembly, Haji Jummai Kperogi.
The CSO expressed its position in a letter addressed to the Speaker of the House, Mr Yakubu Danladi.
The group described the continued extension of her tenure as the Clerk of the House following her retirement from office as unlawful.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that ENetSuD is reputed for its promotion of good governance, transparency and accountability in Kwara.
The letter was also copied to the Attoeny General of the state and the Chairman of the House of Assembly Service Commission.
The letter, signed by ENetSuD’s Director of Legal Services, Mr Lukman Raji, described the contract appointment as illegal, unneedful and discouraging to career civil servants.
“Our attention has been drawn to the recent resolution of the House in its sitting of Wednesday (March 30), wherein they approved the unlawful contract appointment of Hajia Kperogi as the Clerk to the Kwara State House of Assembly for another period of one (1) year under your leadership.
“This is after your initial approval of her contract appointment and tenure extension as a Clerk to the House for an initial period of six (6) months that ended on March 29, making your unlawful approval for her continued stay in office to be for a period of one and half years.
“We wish to state categorically that the contract appointment of HAJIA HALIMAT JUMMAI KPEROGI or any other person as the Clerk to the House is ultra vires of the House and as such, tantamount to committing illegality ab initio.
“By Section 9 of the Kwara State House of Assembly Service Commission Law 2018 (as amended), only a Director who is on Grade Level 17 and above can be appointed as Clerk to the House, not a Retiree or Contract Staff,” the letter said.
ENetSuD added that the power of the House is to make resolutions, not to ratify contract appointment, and that the House ought to seek secondment or transfer of a suitably qualified person from Kwara Civil Service, assuming there is no qualified person within the assembly.
“It is also very clear from Section 9(2) of the law that the House of Assembly is empowered to appoint Clerk to the House by resolution, not ratifying contract appointment of somebody as Clerk against the unambiguous provision of Section 9(1) of the Law.
“We wish to also state that assuming without conceding that there is no Director or any other person that can be appointed as substantive Clerk to the House at the retirement of the former substantive Clerk to the House in compliance with Section 9 (1) of the Law, Sections 11 and 13 of the same Law allows the commission to deploy qualified person from other part of civil service within the state either on secondment or transfer of service to the commission.”
The anti-corruption body stressed that the appointee was not entitled to be appointed as a contract staff having retired from the service.
“According to the rules for contract appointments as contained in paragraphs 02401 to 02411 of the Kwara State Government Public Service Rules, HAJIA HALIMAT JUMMAI KPEROGI did not fall into the category of somebody who can benefit from such.
“This is because, the position of the Clerk to the House is not a special post where any other qualified hand cannot be seen in the Kwara State House of Assembly Service Commission or the Kwara State Civil Service.”
ENetSuD reminded the legislators that they should not violate the laws they make.
“Section 9 (1) of the Kwara State House of Assembly Service Commission Law 2018 (as amended) is clear on who can be appointed as Clerk to the House by the use of the mandatory word ‘SHALL’.
The CSO maintained that the House making law should not be seen violating the law made by it as in this case.
“We urge you to put the round peg in the round hole by complying with the clear provisions of your law,” the letter read.
ENetSuD further informed the Speaker that the organisation would not hesitate to take other necessary actions/steps allowed by the law, if the House failed to right the wrong within 14 days from the service of their letter. (NAN)