By Sadiq Umar – The Legislative Aides Forum of the 7th National Assembly Tuesday protested the non payment of their severance allowances eight months after the end of the tenure.
The Forum accused the management of the National Assembly Management of diverting the sum of N10.6bn Severance and Duty Tour Allowance (DTA) provided for the payment in the 2015 supplementary budget.
The budget assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari early December, 2015.
Speaking with journalists at the National Assembly gate, where they were prevented from entering the National Assembly complex by Security Operatives, the leader of the group, Afo Godwin, lamented non payment of their allowances despite repeated assurances from the management.
He disclosed that information at their disposal revealed that fund for the payment has been diverted by the management of National Assembly.
He said: “My name is Mr. Afo Godwin representing the 7th National Assembly Legislative Aides and we are here to find out few things regarding payment our DTA, severance and other allowances which were reflected in the supplementary appropriations and which we were promised that it would be paid before Christmas”.
Godwin who was the head of domestic Aides to former Senate President, David Mark said there was no communication between NASS management and the forum while expressing anger over their prevention from entering their former offices.
“You can see that we are here in our numbers, but they refused us entry despite explaining to them that we are here for peace”, he lamented.
Another member of the forum who identified himself as Alhaji Sule Bagudu from Kebbi state emphasised the diversion of funds meant for them.
“They have diverted this money to another project and that is why we are here for explanations” he noted.
The forum further explained that arrears of their allowances stood at N7.6bn, but N10.6bn was approved and wondered that their principals in the 7th Assembly have been cleared of their allowances while they were yet to be paid.
“All our arrears cumulatively was N7.6bn, but we read in national dailies that N10.6bn was appropriated in the 2015 supplementary budget while former Senators we worked with, have been fully paid, they diverted our own”, he fumed.
He accused some executives of the forum of compromising their stand for not been available despite a circular detailing all members to be part of yesterday’s protest.
“Some of our executives have been compromised because they don’t pick calls, and they initiated circulars calling for this protest only for them to stay away.”, he lamented.