Legislative aides protest against unpaid N7b severance package

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AIDES of senators and members of the House of Representatives, otherwise called legislative aides, yesterday staged a mild protest at the central lobby of the National Assembly over non payment of their severance gratuity and Duty Tour Allowances (DTA) totaling about N7 billion.

Representatives of the 2,500 aides, had after about two hours meeting at the Hearing Room 1 of the House of Representatives, stormed the central lobby of the National Assembly to express their displeasure over what they termed inhuman treatment meted to them by the National Assembly management.

In quick response, a detachment of policemen from National Assembly Division took over the whole arena, preventing them from making further public scene.

The police team along with other senior security officers of the National Assembly however, allowed them to send representatives to the office of the Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly to register their grievances.

Some of the legislative aides, who spoke to newsmen explained that their brief protest was a fallout of the refusal of the National Assembly management to pay all the 2, 500 legislative aides that served in the 7th Assembly their severance gratuity and duty tour allowances which ranged from N1.5 million to N3million per aide depending on grade levels and steps.
The aides, who spoke under condition of anonymity also, alleged that based on information at their disposal, the N7 billion meant for the payment has been released to management of the National Assembly by the Federal Ministry of Finance since last month, yet, there are no indications that the payment would be made soon.

“Our protest is all about the prolonged delay we are experiencing in the payment of our severance allowances by the management of National Assembly, even weeks after payment of similar allowances to all the 469 federal legislators who served in the 7th Assembly.

“We believe that the protest, though aborted, has sent the needed message to them that we are ready for showdown with them any time from now if we are not paid the money in this first week of September,” they said.

But in an internal circular later issued from the office of the Director, Personnel Management of the National Assembly, the management said the money has not yet been released by the Ministry of Finance as claimed by the aggrieved aides.

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