•Accounts dept’ll shed light on it –NASS management
From Kemi Yesufu, Abuja
Legislative aides are set for a showdown with the National Assembly management over N1.5 billion arrears of allowance.
Daily Sun gathered that both senior legislative aides, such as Special Advisers, Special Assistants and Chiefs of Staff to presiding officers in both chambers, as well as middle and junior staff, including senior legislative aides, legislative aides and secretaries have not been paid the statutory 28-day allowance, which should have been paid soon after the June 9, 2015 inauguration of the Eighth National Assembly.
A senior aide to a South-West lawmaker in the House of Representatives, who declined to be named as he was not authorised to do so, said both the 28-day allowance, which is paid a new staff on resumption and the Duty Tour Allowance (DTA) paid quarterly have not been paid since June 2015.
“I should be paid about N120,000 per quarter as my DTA and N35,000 as my 28-day allowance. But, I haven’t been paid DTA for a year, neither has the 28-day allowance been paid to me,” the aide said.
Also confirming that majority of legislative aides have not received payment, a senior legislative aide of a South-South senator lamented that the situation was further compounded by the division in the National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum (NASSLAF).
“There is really no one to talk to the management on this matter because NASSLAF has factions,” the source said.
But, speaking with Daily Sun, factional chairman of NASSLAF, Samuel Melaye, said the forum will, today, issue management a 10-day ultimatum over allowances owed its members.
Melaye, who described the situation as unprecedented, also added that if the allowances were not paid as promised by the management of the National Assembly, upon the expiration of the ultimatum, NASSLAF would stage a peaceful protest to further highlight the plight of legislative aides.
“I’m aware that many legislative aides still have not been paid the 28-days allowance. Some were paid, including me, and when I asked why, management explained that they don’t have enough money.
“So, they did random sampling and paid those they could. But, majority have not been paid.
“On the issue of DTA, this is not my first time in the National Assembly, so, I can tell you that it has never been this bad.
“Management has promised to clear the debt before the end of this month; the month ends next Thursday. I will write management today, to remind them of what they have promised to do.
“But, if they don’t pay all aides by that date, I will lead the protest against them because, as much as I know, management doesn’t have any reason to owe us”.
When contacted, National Assembly Director of Information, Mr. Ishaku Dibah, said he was unaware of the situation.
“As you have spoken to me now, it is for me to get across to the Secretary, Finance and Accounts.
“It is what he tells me that I can get back to you on,” he said.
When pressed on how soon he could get a response, he said: “If I see him, I will get back to you. But, it appears as though he is not around, because I haven’t seen him since (Monday) morning…”