Members of the National Assembly were on Tuesday welcomed back to session by aggrieved legislative aides, who protested non-payment of salaries, Duty Tour Allowances (DTA), among other entitlements.
The protesters were, however, ignored by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who merely waved and walked past them without saying a word.
The workers besieged the chambers’ lobby, carrying placards with different inscriptions and singing solidarity songs.
Nyakmo Etuk, who spoke on behalf of the protesters, said that they were owed two months’ salary arrears, and DTA since the beginning of the 8th Assembly in 2015.
He said: “We have been here for the past three years getting to four years, and have been witnessing issues of delay in payment of salaries. Sometimes, it will linger for months. As I talk to you now the last time we received was on August 15, which is very pathetic because that was the eve of the last Sallah celebrations.
“Since then we have not received any salary from August to September, today is Oct. 9, almost the middle of the month. We have children, we have mothers, and we have bills to pay, yet we are working here without salaries.”
Etuk said that besides salary, every legislative aide was entitled to DTA, which had not been paid in the last three and a half years, noting that every time the workers complained, the management told them they were working on the matter.
“We have waited; we have calculated this DTA across board, and some of us are being owed up to N1.8 million. It is from the DTA we go on errand and do some other miscellaneous things," he added.
“I don’t know what we have done wrong, because the last National Assembly leadership paid us up to date. We are not talking about training, lack of which is also an issue here. You can’t expect efficient service from people you have not trained. We are supposed to be undergoing four trainings in a year, and ever since we started, we have not had even one."