Reps back Electoral Act review to accommodate IDPs
• To probe N3.4b monthly wage to Ajaokuta Steel workers
THE House of Representatives Wednesday gave indication that it is ready to amend the 2010 Electoral Act with a view to ensure participation of duly registered Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the nation’s general elections.
The Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Victor Afam Ogene, who gave the indication while addressing newsmen after the session yesterday, said the House was “desirous to fast-track the proposed amendment to the Act,” a development he said, necessitated the constitution of a conference committee to meet with its Senate counterpart, even as the parliament was embarking on another break.
While emphasising that the House may be reconvened over the amendment if need be, the lawmaker however said it would not amount to waste of time as being perceived since the law, even if not applicable in the coming elections, would be useful in the future should a similar situation presents itself, adding that the House was determined to pull the amendment through.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has mandated its Committee on Steel to investigate an alleged increase of the Ajaokuta Steel Company workers’ monthly wage bill from N228 million to N3.4 billion, and report back its findings within two weeks.
The resolution was the outcome of a motion introduced on the floor by Abbas Tajudeen on the need to investigate the expenditure of the huge monthly sum on payment of salaries to members of staff of “the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Company.”
In his submissions, Tajudeen expressed concern over a report in a national daily on September 1, 2014, quoting Chairman of Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Aliyu Kola Belgore, saying that the sum of N3.4 billion was being spent monthly on payment of salaries to members of staff of the firm.
He said further that there was a twist in another report published in a national daily on September 5, 2014 where the Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ISSAN), in conjunction with Engineering Workers Union of Nigeria (TEWUN), addressed a press conference claiming that the monthly wage bill for 2,900 members of staff of the company is actually N288 million and not the sum of N3.4 billion as claimed.
According to him: “Despite the fact that the company was conceived and built with the aim of facilitating the industrialisation and economic transformation of the country, it has failed to fulfill that expectation, hence the engagement of United States (U.S.) consultants and Indian technical contractors for 10 years.”