2019 budget: National Assembly staff plan to stop Buhari’s presentation Wednesday

NASS staff begin strike, may stall Buhari’s 2019 budget presentation
Protesting National Assembly staff

President Muhammadu Buhari may be unable to present the 2019 budget to the National Assembly on Wednesday as scheduled.

Reason:  Staff of the National Assembly under the aegis of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria, PASAN, will be on a four-day warning strike to protest their unpaid salaries and allowances.

The decision is contained in a letter addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, after an emergency meeting it held on Friday.

PASAN stated that the warning strike would be between December 17 to 20.

The letter signed by the association’s chairman, Musa Muhammed, and Secretary, Sulaiman Haruna, reads in part:  “Notification of a 4 day warning strike

“Sequel to our earlier notice of strike action as contained in the communiqué dated 29th November 2018, the Congress of Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), National Assembly chapter, unanimously resolved at its emergency congress held on 14th December, 2018, to embark on a 4-day warning strike commencing from Monday 17th to 20th December, 2018.

“By this notice, be kindly informed that the entire members of PASAN shall stay off their respective duties on the above mentioned dates.”

With the strike, it will be impossible for the National Assembly to host the president who has been scheduled to present the 2019 budget to the legislators.

PASAN members had recently taken over the National Assembly to protest the non-payment of their salaries and allowances.

Carrying placards with different inscriptions, the workers crowded the lobby from where the two chambers of the National Assembly could be entered.

Some of the inscriptions called on a probe of the management of the National Assembly.

Some of the legislators were turned back while some simply went into their different offices.

Meanwhile, President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki and Dogara had directed the National Assembly Management Committee headed by the Clerk, Alhaji Sani Omolori, to resolve all issues raised by the protesting straff.

In a statement issued in Abuja,  Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to the President of the Senate, Yusuph Olaniyonu, stated that at a meeting attended by the National Assembly’s Management and members of staff under the umbrella of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), the Senate President and the Speaker who addressed the meeting on behalf of the leadership of both chambers, stated that it was important for the workers to be well motivated and their demands properly addressed in order to create a conducive atmosphere for the legislature to perform its duties.

With the latest development, it is obvious that the problems have not been addressed and the protest may halt the presentation of the 2019 budget.