Activities at the National Assembly were Tuesday brought to a standstill as a result of a protest embarked upon by parliamentary workers.
The workers who besieged the lobby of the National Assembly in large numbers carried placards with different inscriptions expressing their grievances. They gave the management a 21 day ultimatum to address their demands or face a full blown strike. Some of the inscriptions read: “Maikasuwa, staff fasted and prayed for you to become Clerk of National Assembly. Now you have failed us”
“Maikasuwa must go” “our pension deductions; Please stop the fraud”, “Land allocation for staff housing;where is it? We need it” The workers who occupied the National Assembly lobby in the early hours of the day levelled sundry allegations against the management of the National Assembly. Among the allegations were corruption and diversion of public funds as well as refusal to pay workers other “welfare packages” and fringe benefits meant for them by the leadership.
Efforts to pacify them by some lawmakers fell on deaf ears as the protesters insisted in their demand to speak with only the Principal officers of the two chambers.
Protesters at the National Assembly However, tension which had hitherto built up in the lobby of the complex subsided with the intervention of the Senate President, David Mark and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal who later addressed them.
In their petition to the Principal officers, the parliamentary workers described the National Assembly Management led by the Clerk Salisu Maikasuwa as a Cabal which they accused of turning against them.
In the petition read by Comrade Odo Chris, Chairman of G-1200- the group which organised the protest- the workers urged the leadership of the two chambers to institute a probe into the activities of the National Assembly Management with a view to making it give account of the funds appropriated for staff salaries, training, welfare and other incentives meant for them among others.
They accused the National Assembly management and the former Chairman of Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), Comrade Rawlings Agada and the former Chairman of the National Assembly Service Commission of connivance and diversion all the deductions made from their meagre salaries including Pension, Taxes among others.