National Assembly management has tightened security in and around the premises apparently to thwart a planned protest by some legislative aides on Monday morning.
The aides, under the auspices of Salary Arrears Affected Legislative Aides (SAALA), had vowed to ground activities at the National Assembly beginning from Monday, over alleged non-payment of their 2019 salary arrears and allowances to the tune of N3.1 billion.
There is increased presence of security personnel, including anti-riot and regular policemen, Department of State Services (DSS) personnel and Sergeant-at-Arms in the complex, The Nation reports.
They were seen manning various entrances and exits in the complex, while the doors leading to the foyer at the White House from the Senate and House of Representatives' chambers have not only been shut but being guarded by security operatives.
The Chairman of the National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum (NASSLAF), Salisu Zuru, had disowned the group in a statement, describing their planned action as illegal.
But the aides, under the auspices of Salary Arrears Affected Legislative Aides (SAALA), in statement signed by their Coordinator, Mr. Zebis Prince, and five other members, noted that the protest had become necessary to press home their demands.
The group affirmed that they were being owed N3.1 billion, comprising N1.35 billion in salary arrears and N1.75 billion for consequential adjustment on minimum wage.
“We will picket the National Assembly Complex, as well as the venue of a training organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) billed for Monday, September 27, to press home our demand for better working conditions.”
Over 1,300 aides were still being owed salary arrears, and none of the 2,345 legislative aides has received the consequential adjustment on minimum wage, since their appointments in June 2019, the group revealed.
They accused the Clerk to the National Assembly, Ojo Olatunde Amos, of disobeying a resolution passed by the House of Representatives mandating him to pay the arrears.
“It is clear that Legislative Aides have exhausted their patience and in the coming weeks, starting from Monday, Sept. 27, Legislative Aides will embark on series of actions to drive home their demands.
“For starters, we shall ensure that the selective training planned for Monday by NILDS does not hold by mobilising our members to picket the venue.
“From 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,” the statement reads in part.
They listed full payment of salary arrears from June 2019, the implementation of consequential adjustment on minimum wage, restoration of Duty Tour Allowance (DTA), holistic and comprehensive training for all cadres of legislative aides, among others as their demands.