STAFF of the National Assembly are set for war with the Management as they have vowed to shut down the entire complex, thereby paralyzing both legislative and administrative activities over unpaid salaries and allowances.
The threat to literally put the National Assembly under lock and key was issued yesterday in Abuja by Staff of the National Assembly, under the aegis of Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN). In a statement signed yesterday in Abuja by PASAN Secretary General, Comrade Suleiman Haruna, the group explained that the first phase of the protest will be the disruption of activities at the National Assembly between December 4 and 8, 2018.
Haruna who noted that the protest has become inevitable because there was the need to force the management of the National Assembly to know that they meant business in their demand for the immediate payment of their salaries and promotion arrears, said that the picketing of the National Assembly will commence between 8am and 2pm daily within the stipulated days.
According to him, members of PASAN will ensure that nobody is allowed into the Assembly complex for any business, including legislative business, just as he insisted that the National Assembly management must accede to their demands on the Consolidated Legislative Salary Structure (CONLESS).
The secretary who noted that the plan of action of members of the association became imperative due to the refusal of the Clerk to the National Assembly, Alhaji Mohammed Sani Omolori, to address the concerns of members in relation to salary and promotions arrears, stressed that the association has already issued a two-week ultimatum to the management to fulfill its demands or face strike action.
According to Haruna, the association resolved to urge: “The President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives to take urgent steps to nominate the would-be members of National Assembly Service Commission for appointment. “That all pending staff promotions and conversion letters be released with arrears due fully paid on or before December 31st.
Chairman of the Association, Bature Musa, also confirmed the decision of the association to force National Assembly management to listen to them, however assured that the planned picketing would go on as planned, unless the management of the National Assembly addresses their demands.
In October, over 80 legislative aides welcomed Senators and House of Representatives members back from their annual break with a protest at the National Assembly lobby. The legislative aides who carried placards with various inscriptions, claimed they had not been paid salaries, Duty Tour Allowances (DTA) and other entitlements.
On his part, National Assembly Director, Information and Publications, Rawlins Agada, said that the payment of certain allowances was beyond management of National Assembly, adding, “The issue is of the payment of CONLESS is beyond management at this point. The management is not averse to the payment of the CONLESS because it has been factored into the 2018 budget. “The challenge is the release of fund. It’s more like if you have a liability of N300,000 but all you have is N200,000, what do you do? “I know that the management is in talk with the Executive over the issue but between last week and now, I don’t know what has happened but what us not disputable is that the management is willing to pay. “The management believed that the what the workers are agitating for on the CONLESS is legitimate.
Issues of promotion and others are what can equally be discussed. “My appeal is that the Union should be patient for the outcome of the Legislature and the Executive over the issue and I believe that as soon as the funds are available, the workers would get their dues”.