Hundreds of federal lawmakers’ aides on Tuesday gave the leadership of the National Assembly September 25 ultimatum to pay their outstanding allowances estimated at about N5.8 billion or see the National Assembly completely paralysed.
The hundreds of workers converged at the central lobby of the National Assembly, shouting to the hearing of some lawmakers passing by that “we are aides and not slaves, pay us our entitlements.”
Addressing the media on their grouses with the National Assembly Commission, the Chairman of the workers, Comrade Sam Melaye, insisted that their entitlements totalling about N5.8 billion, “must be paid before resumption of the lawmakers this month failure of which will lead to shut down of the federal parliament.”
Melaye pointed out that the entitlements were duty tour allowances (DTA) of about N2 billion not paid to any one of them over the past three years and training allowances which, when computed on N1 billion per year basis, now has accumulated to N3 billion.
He explained: “By laid down procedures and yearly budgetary provisions of N250 million 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 N1 billion per year but for the past three years, no category of the aides has been sent on any training, let alone, paid the required allowances.”
The legislative aides’ leader hinted that the workers, under the aegis of National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum (NASSLAF), had made efforts to dialogue on the unpaid entitlements with the National Assembly political and administrative leaders over the past few months without success.
It was gathered that shortly after the protest, the Clerk to the Senate, Nelson Ayewoh, engaged the protesting workers in discussions in his office but then, the aggrieved aides came back to the lobby to resume their protest, shouting “no retreat , no surrender!’