Aides to members of the National Assembly, have concluded plans to embark on a strike action that would shut down the National Assembly beginning from Tuesday (today) over alleged non-payment of their salary arrears and allowances since 2019, amounting to N3.1bn.
The lawmakers’ aides, under the auspices of the Salary Arrears Affected Legislative Aides (SAALA), in an interaction with newsmen on Monday, said they will shut down the federal parliament and will refuse to go back to their duties unless they are paid their backlog of arrears.
The threat has forced the management of the National Assembly to increase security in and around the complex as more security operatives were deployed at the Complex entrances, while the central lobby of the ‘White House’ which houses the chambers, was manned by several sergeants-at-arms.
Personel of the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Services and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, were also deployed in strategic locations to complement the sergeants-at-arms.
In a statement signed by the Coordinator of SAALA, Zebis Prince, alongside five other members of the leadership, the aggrieved aides said they were owed N3.1bn, comprising N1.35bn in salary arrears and N1.75bn for consequential adjustment on minimum wage.
The group claims that over 1,300 aides are owed salary arrears, while none of the 2,345 legislative aides had received the consequential adjustment on minimum wage since their appointments in June 2019.
“We will picket the National Assembly Complex from Tuesday, September 28, to press home our demand for better working conditions,” the statement read in part.
“On Tuesday, we shall also picket the National Assembly Complex to draw the world’s attention to the embarrassment going on in the nation’s premier law-making institution.”
But in a swift reaction to the strike threat, Chairman of the National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum (NASSLAF), Salisu Zuru, disowned SAALA, describing their planned action as illegal.
“These aides are embarking on illegality because none of them is an executive member or Members of CWC of NASSLAF, the body constitutionally empowered to run the affairs of aides.
“The peace of NASS should not be allowed to be disrupted in the guise of salary arrears,” Zuru said in a statement.
However, the Clerk to the National Assembly, Ojo Olatunde Amos, said management had since met with the leadership of the group in a bid to resolve the issue.
”Efforts were made to offset the arrears.
“The Principal Officers are doing their best to ensure that whatever needs to be done is done to ensure the release of the funds from the Ministry of Finance,” Ojo said, through his Special Adviser on Media and Labour Matters, Austen Adesoro.
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