Legislative aides protest in Abuja

Over unpaid N1.5bn salaries, allowances

Legislative aides from both chambers of the National Assembly (NASS), on Wednesday, converged on the lobby of the premises  and staged a peaceful protest against its management over their salary arrears and unpaid allowances for months running to over  N1.5 billion.

It was gathered that the legislative aides, who abandoned their various offices,  started gathering at the NASS  lobby from 8.00a.m and were  chanting solidarity songs to press home their demand for prompt payment of their arrears.

The protest, however,  delayed the resumption of the plenary in both chambers, as the presiding officers, the Senate President and the Speaker delayed their movements for a while for security reasons.

Some of the protesting aides explained to newsmen that they resorted to the protest after failed promises made by the management of the National Assembly to pay up owed salaries and entitlements.

They, however, warned that their next protest would be targeted at the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, should the management refuse to honour its promises of settling the arrears.

One of the legislative aides, who simply identified himself as Kingsley, told newsmen that many of their  colleagues had endured different forms of hardship.

Another of the aggrieved staff, Yusuf Sherrif Modu, accused the management of paying permanent staff and neglecting legislative aides.

However,  President of the  National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum (NASSLAF), Comrade  Samule Melaye, who  confirmed  that some of his members were still being owed salaries and allowances, said he only heard about the protest after it had been held.

According to him, “I am not against what they are protesting about. But there is always the need to follow due process in anything we want to do and I believe that as a stakeholder, I should have been informed about the protest.”

He further explained that the official position of the National Assembly was that, soon, payments would  be made to cover all monies owed legislative aides.

When called, Director of Information of the National Assembly,  Isyiaku Dibal, promised to call back, but no response from his end  as of  press time.

According to him, “We met with the Clerk of the National Assembly (CNA), Mohammed Sani -Omolori, today and he assured that the arrears would soon be paid, in fact, he even swore that not a dime of our entitlements will be left unpaid.