PASAN strike: Police prevent entry into National Assembly

PASAN strike: Police prevent entry into National Assembly
Members of security forces block the entrance of the National Assembly in Abuja, Nigeria August 7, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Following the order by the leadership of the National Assembly, the police, on Tuesday, mounted security at the entrances of the National Assembly, preventing people from going in.

The order by the leadership on Monday followed the strike embarked upon National Assembly staff operating under the aegis of the Parliamentary Staff Assoication of Nigeria, PASAN.

The workers are on a four day strike to protest non-payment of their allowances and salaries.

If allowed to go on, the protest may stop the presentation of the 2019 budget to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday as scheduled.

Upon commencement of the strike on Monday, supply of water and electricity to the National Assembly was cut off.

In view of the effect of the strike, the leadership of the National Assembly ordered that Police and the Department of State Services (DSS) should ensure adequate security within the vicinity of the National Assembly from Tuesday morning to enable members and staff come in and perform their legitimate duties without any hindrance.

The directive was passed after a meeting of the joint leadership of the two chambers with the management and representatives of the security agencies.

According to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Sani Omolori, the meeting was called by the political leadership to listen to the management led by the Clerk of the National Assembly (CNA) on efforts made so far to address the grievances of the striking staff.

“The leadership of the National Assembly called the meeting because they know that almost all the issues raised by the striking workers were being addressed by the management. And after listening to the CNA, it was unanimously agreed that the management had made sufficient plans and efforts to address all the grievances of the workers and ensure their happiness.

“We were sure that the issues raised by the workers have been well attended to and that it is necessary for the business of the National Assembly to continue without any disturbance. Both chambers must hold their normal plenary tomorrow morning to prepare the ground for the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 to present the budget proposal to the joint sitting of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

“We have therefore mandated the security agencies to perform their duty of maintaining law and order in the National Assembly Complex and its surrounding. They must enforce the laws which allow the striking workers to down tools if they choose to and also the ones which restrain them from disturbing those who choose to work or stop parliamentarians from entering the chambers or their offices to do the work for which they were elected.

“Senators and members of the House of Representatives, their aides, other workers and people who have legitimate business within the National Assembly Complex are therefore advised to come in as they will be free to operate without any hindrance and molestation.

“If President Buhari is unable to present the budget proposal on Wednesday as scheduled Nigerians should hold the security agencies responsible for failing in the performance of their duties,” the leadership of the federal legislature stated.