Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Members of the 7th National Assembly legislative aides, under the aegis of 7th Senate Legislative Aides Forum, yesterday stormed the Complex to protest the non payment of their severance allowances, amounting to the sum of N10.6 billion.
The protesters alleged that the National Assembly Management diverted the amount meant for severance and duty tour allowance (DTA), which was reflected in the 2015 Supplementary Budget.
The UNION reports that the Budget has already been assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari early December 2015.
Speaking on behalf of the forum with National Assembly correspondents at the main gate, where they were stopped by security personnel from taking their protests to the Complex, Mr. Afo Godwin lamented non payment of their allowances, despite repeated assurances from the Management.
Godwin claimed that the fund, which has, so far, been appropriated, has been diverted to what members of the group later learnt was a priority of NASS Management.
“My name is Mr. Afo Godwin, representing the 7th National Assembly Legislative Aides, and we are here to find out few things regarding (the) payment of our DTA, severance and others, which were reflected in the supplementary appropriations, and which we were promised that it would be paid before Christmas,” he said.
Godwin, who was the Head of Domestic Aides to the former Senate President, Senator David Mark, said that there was no communication between NASS management and the forum.
He also expressed disappointment that they were denied entering the Complex.
“You can see that we are here in our numbers; but they refused us entry, despite explaining to them that we are here for peace,” he lamented.
A member of the forum, who identified himself as Alhaji Sule Bagudu from Kebbi State, maintained that their money has been diverted for another thing.
“They have diverted this money to another project, and that is why we are here for explanations,” he insisted.
The forum further explained that the arrears of their allowances stood at N7.6 billion.
The UNION, however, reports that the sum of N10.6 billion was approved.
The group wondered why their principals in the 7th Assembly have been cleared of their allowances, while they were yet to be paid.
“All our arrears, cumulatively, was N7.6 billion. But we read in (the) dailies that N10.6 billion was appropriated in the supplementary, while former senators we worked with have been fully paid; and they diverted our own,” Godwin fumed.
He accused some executives of the forum of compromising their stand for not being available, despite a circular detailing all members to be part of the protest.
“Some of our executives have been compromised because they don’t pick calls, and they initiated circulars calling for this protest, only for them to stay away,” he alleged.
Legislative Aides Storm NASS Over Unpaid N10.6bn Severance Packages
Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja