… Drivers, Aides Plan Protest
By Olusegun Emmanuel, Abuja.
The National Conference has expressed concerns over a planned protest by aides and drivers of delegates who had petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, informing the IGP of their intention to stage a peaceful protest against non-payment of allowances to them.
This even as Delegates revealed that they are yet to collect six weeks allowances.
At the resumption of the plenary on Monday in Abuja, Deputy Chairman of the conference, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, who read the IGP’s letter sent to the Conference, said the letter from drivers and aides, was sent back to the conference secretariat for action as he informed the Conference that even principal officers have not been paid.
The former foreign affairs minister implored the delegates to call their aides and drivers to order, saying such protest would not be welcomed by the conference.
According to him, the welfare of aides and delegates were not captured by government while drawing up the budget for the conference.
His words: “Don’t give impressions you can’t control them. If you cannot, security will control them.”
It would be recalled that the drivers and aides had complained against non-provision of salaries and allowances to them by the conference.
The Conference Secretariat had explained, when request was made for entry permits to such persons, that the conference could only make provisions to enable them have access to venue but would not make any provisions for their financials. Conference said that would be handled by the delegates themselves.
Despite this, the aides and drivers had continuously agitated for payment by the conference.
Speaking on the planned protest by drivers and aides, Dan Nwanyanwu, informed the conference that agitation for payments was being orchestrated by aides and drivers of principal officers of the conference and other ancillary staff.
He said “the last time you gave us notice of the intended protest, I did my own investigation. You may also have to talk to your drivers and secretariat staff. They are behind this. They are not aware you have not paid delegates. Some empty chairs here is an indication that some are not being paid. Some may have been sent out of their hotels. So, as we are not paid. So too are your aides who are also complaining”.
Mrs. Felicia Sani, who represents market women, also expressed dissatisfaction with non-payment of allowances to delegates, saying that the circumstance has forced her to accommodate other representatives of market women at the conference.