By Olugbenga Salami
Legislative aides to the federal lawmakers in both chambers of the National Assembly, yesterday threatened to shut down the parliament in protest against the alleged non payment of their allowances totalling N5.8billion.
Protesting under the aegis of National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum, NASSLAF, the aggrieved staffers accused the leadership and management of the federal legislature of being insensitive to their plight after alleged several meetings with them, vowing that nothing would stop them from carrying out their threat on or before September 25 when the lawmakers are expected to resume from their ongoing annual recess.
They turned out in their hundreds during the protest held at the central lobby of the National Assembly, shouting “We are aides and not slaves, pay us our entitlements”.
Addressing journalists on their plights, the chairman of the aggrieved legislative aides, Comrade Sam Melaye said the entitlements totalling about N5.8 billion now, must be paid before resumption of the lawmakers this month failure of which will lead to shut down of the federal parliament.
The entitlements, according to him are Duty Tour Allowances, DTA not paid to any one of them within the last three years which is over N2billion now and training allowances which based on calculation of N1billion per year, is N3billion now.
“By laid down procedures and yearly budgetary provisions of N250million on quarterly basis, each of the legislative aides is expected to go for training on the template of capacity building the totality of which is N1billion per year but for the past three years, no category of the aides have been sent on any training , let alone , paid the required allowances”, he explained.
Melaye disclosed that the aides have made concerted efforts to get the leadership of the National Assembly politically and administratively within the last three months in getting the monies paid without required response or cooperation from them.
Clerk to the Senate, Mr. Nelson Ayewoh later met with the protesting aides on behalf of the Clerk to National Assembly, Alhaji Mohammed Sani-Omolori in his office but when they came back to the lobby, they were shouting “no retreat, no surrender” until they dispersed in groups.