Aides of the federal legislators in the Senate and House of Representatives during the 7th National Assembly yesterday protested non payment of their severance gratuity and duty tour allowances totalling N7 billion.
Aides of the federal legislators in the Senate and House of Representatives during the 7th National Assembly yesterday protested at the central lobby of the National Assembly Complex over non payment of their severance gratuity and duty tour allowances (DTA) totalling N7 billion.
Representatives of the 2,500 aides had, after about two hours meeting at the Hearing Room 1 of the House of Representatives, stormed the central lobby to openly express their anger to everybody around. However, a detachment of policemen from the National Assembly division immediately took over the whole arena,preventing them from making any public address.
The police team, along with other senior security officers of the National Assembly, however, allowed them to send representatives to the office of the Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly to register their grievances.
Some of the legislative aides, who bared their minds, explained that their aborted protest was fallout of the refusal of the National Assembly management to pay all the 2,500 legislative aides that served in the 7th Assembly their severance gratuity and DTAs. It was gathered that the unpaid sum ranges from N1.5 million to N3 million per aide, depending on their grade levels and steps.
The aides, who preferred anonymity, alleged that based on the information at their disposal, the N7 billion meant for the payment had been released to management of the National Assembly by the Federal Ministry of Finance last month. They also claimed that there had not been any sign of readiness for payment from them.
“Our protest is all about prolonged delay we are expecting in the payment of our severance allowances by the management of National Assembly, even weeks after payment of similar allowances to all the 469 federal legislators who served in the 7th Assembly. “We believe that the protest, though aborted, has sent the needed message to them that we are ready for showdown with them any time from now if we are not paid the money in this first week of September,” one of them said.
But an internal circular, which was later issued from the office of the Director, Personal Management of the National Assembly, the management denied that the money has been released from the Ministry as claimed by the aggrieved aides. The document was issued by the Acting Director, M. AAbubakar on behalf of the Clerk to the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasuwa.
-Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja