By Sunday Ani, Lagos
The Lagos State House of Assembly chapter of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) began an indefinite strike on Tuesday to press home their demand for legislative financial autonomy.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Chairman of the chapter, Adele Adewale Taofiq, and made available to reporters.
The statement, entitled “Commencement of Nationwide Strike Tomorrow, March 23, 2021, On The Implementation Of Financial Autonomy For The State Legislature,” stressed that the bedrock of parliamentary autonomy is hinged on financial independence. It went ahead to define autonomy in the context as non-dependence and non-subordination of parliaments to the executive.
‘This non-dependence and non-subordination as stated above is in terms of unfettered control over financial and other related resources.
‘Therefore, according to the best practice the parliaments should have equitable access to resources. As such, parliaments by constitutional arrangements are supposed to have enough financial muscle to carry out their legislative mandate, including power over the budget.
‘This is consistent with the Latimer principles, which states that parliament should have control of and authority to determine and secure their budgetary requirements unconstrained by the Executive, save for budgetary constraints dictated by national circumstances,’ the statement read.
Adele argued that parliaments should assert their role as a separate arm of government, saying that such independence include the way they organise themselves, as well control over their own timetable and the ability to recall themselves outside normal session if circumstances so required.
He explained that it was their responsibility to ensure that the legislative arm of government was extricated from the firm grip of the executive.
‘Notifications have been given in line with the provisions of the Trade Disputes Act of the Federation, yet no response from the government,’ he said.
He explained that in May 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari signed an Executive Order granting financial autonomy to the legislature across the 36 states of the country but lamented that it was yet to be implemented by the governors.
He urged members of PASAN to be peaceful from the beginning to the end of the strike, urging them to wear their legislative uniforms (PASAN cap) to office so that hoodlums would not be able to hijack the strike.
‘A strike action committee would be set up to monitor compliance as directed by the national headquarters of PASAN.
‘May the Almighty God grant us the strength as we go through this struggle to bring true democracy to our dear country, Nigeria,’ he said.