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Breaking: NASS to be shut in 48 hours as CNA, NASC Chairman fails to pay salary arrears



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The National Assembly complex would be shut against lawmakers in protest within 48 hours, if salary arrears of Legislative aides is not paid before Wednesday, 16th December, 2020.

This is even as the Salary Arrears Affected Legislative Aides in the National Assembly issued a 48 hours ultimatum to the Clerk to the National Assembly, CNA to either pay over one year salary arrears or have the complex shut.

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The plight of Legislative aides deepened with regards to their outstanding salaries as the Chairman of the National Assembly Service Commission, Engr Amshi Kadi alledgedly asked the CNA to ignore demands for clearance of one year salary arrears of legislative aides.

The affected aides who are members of NASSLAF, an umbrella body of aides working with lawmakers in the upper and lower legislative Chambers in a tense letter dated 13th December, 2020 lamented the newly inaugurated Clerk to the National Assembly, Architect Amos Olatunde Ojo’s, lacklustre posture on the salary arrears he inherited from the former CNA, Sani Ataba Omolori.

The letter which was signed by leaders of the forum representing the six geopolitical zones, lamented that the CNA has connived with the Chairman of the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC), Amshi Kadi to ignore the outstanding salaries insisting that the complex would be shut after 48 hours notice.

Part of the letter reads:

“We write on behalf of all Legislative Aides being owed salaries arrears from June 12th to December 31st, 2019. This distinction is important to draw a parallel between the long-drawn salaries arrears commencing from date of inauguration and the ongoing ones which are occasioned by bureaucratic process.
We write with regards to the former which affects over 50% of Legislative Aides.

“You will recall that upon assumption of office, you appeared before the Honourable Raji-led House Service Committee on Legislative Aides Welfare where you pleaded for time to settle down before the salary arrears are paid.

“The Committee was a child of several letters and petitions written to relevant authorities by Legislative Aides to condemn the dictatorial, whimsical and ill-thought directive by the immediate past CNA to shortchange Legislative Aides of their earned salaries as has been the norm from time immemorial.

“Some of the signatories to this letter were in the hall when you promised to pay the arrears ‘within two months’.

“That commitment to the lawmakers was made in August, 2020. Upon the inauguration of the Zuru-led National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum (NASSLAF) Executive Committee, they paid you a courtesy visit wherein they reported back that you gave a firm assurance that the vexed issue of the 2019 arrears would be settled once and for all ‘on or before 21st of December, 2020’.

“Despite our misgivings concerning the date and breach of your previous words to the House Committee, we gave the management the benefits of doubt.

“Our optimism was largely borne out of the belief that with your emergence, we were out of the woods and the worst was behind us.

“We envisioned a regime where all stakeholders are treated equally and with proportionate dignity befitting workers in a federal legislature.

“It was therefore a rude shock when we learnt that the management has no plans to pay the 2019 salary arrears of Legislative Aides that has long been settled even before you came onboard.

“For us as Legislative Aides, the issue of the arrears was a matter of when and not if as all arguments have been canvassed and resolution reached before you mounted the saddle.

“Surely, as the Head of Management and Chief Accounting Officer of the National Assembly, you must be privy to the position of the Chairman of the Commission, the Senate President and the Speaker on this issue.

“Your reluctance to implement and comply with the directives of these authorities is an enforcement of the last regime and fuels the suspicion that perhaps nothing has changed. The honeymoon came too soon.

“Having regard to our recent unpleasant experience as Legislative Aides, we have learnt our lessons the hard way.

“In as much as we are disappointed at your failure to keep even to your own words, we have decided not to resign to lamentations, but to take all legitimate steps to drive home our demands for the payment of our salary arrears that has dragged on for over a year.

“We are now convinced more than before that apart from being an admission of the validity of our claims, the payment of few of our colleagues last year was a red-herring aimed at buying time and also dividing our ranks.

“We totally disagree with this discriminatory, inconsistent and vindictive approach to public service delivery. We believe that the undue and inexplicable delay in paying us our arrears was designed to arrive at a predetermined end.
We will legitimately resist any attempt to further impoverish us.

“On the strength of the above, we are by this letter issuing a 48 hours’ notice of our intention to commence on series of actions to drive home our demands for the payment of our 2019 salary arrears.

“Starting from Wednesday, 16th of December, 2020 we shall among other steps invoke section 40 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to embark on peaceful gathering around the precincts of the National Assembly Complex.

“This shall be followed with unrelenting social media campaign and petitions to relevant authorities to alert them to our situation. The legal option is our last resort.

“The only action that can stop these chains of events is the payment of our arrears within the timeline of this notice. We shall no longer take any verbal assurance from anyone.

“While we are hopeful that the management will take full advantage of the two days window and render our actions unnecessary, let me assure you sir that we have the resolve and capabilities to sustain this campaign for as long as it is necessary till our demands are met.”

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