Saraki, Dog­ara get sev­er­ance pay, aides lament

The Punch - - FRONT PAGE - Leke Baiyewu, Abuja

Mem­bers of the 8th Na­tional Assem­bly led by bukola saraki as Pres­i­dent of the se­nate and Yakubu Dog­ara as speaker of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives have re­ceived their sev­er­ance al­lowances but many of their aides have yet to be paid, The PUNCH has learnt.

Many of their aides have, how­ever, still not been paid seven months af­ter the last Na­tional Assem­bly ter­mi­nated.

While some aides still work with their re-elected bosses, oth­ers whose bosses lost their bids for re-elec­tion into the 9th Assem­bly have ei­ther lost their jobs or now serve other law­mak­ers.

It was also gath­ered that the Na­tional Assem­bly man­age­ment has yet to clear the salary ar­rears al­legedly owed aides of mem­bers of the 9th Na­tional Assem­bly.

The PUNCH had re­ported on De­cem­ber 15, 2019, that Pres­i­dent of the se­nate, Ah­mad Lawan; and speaker of the House, Femi Gba­jabi­amila, were on a col­li­sion course with the Clerk to the Na­tional Assem­bly, Mr Mo­hammed sani-omolori, over non-pay­ment of the law­mak­ers aides.

The aides to the law­mak­ers, al­leged that though their ap­point­ments were made be­tween June and July 2019, they had only been paid three months; Oc­to­ber, Novem­ber and De­cem­ber.

The Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Af­fairs, Of­fice of the Clerk, Nass, Mr Ya­haya Dan-zaria, had said the man­age­ment could only de­fend pay­ments made based on the ap­point­ment let­ters is­sued to the aides. He added that the NASC did not recog­nise the al­leged un­of­fi­cial re­sump­tion by the work­ers.

The sev­er­ance pack­age is re­port­edly N23.7bn but our cor­re­spon­dent could not as­cer­tain, as of sun­day, how much each of the ex-law­mak­ers was paid.

In an ex­clu­sive re­port by The PUNCH on Au­gust 2, 2019, a for­mer mem­ber of the se­nate, sen­a­tor soji Akanbi, had said the money was “about N7m, which is not even enough to as­sist many of our con­stituents who need ur­gent help.”

An­other law­maker had said those in the House would re­ceive “up to N6m each.”

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to the Re­mu­ner­a­tion Pack­age for Po­lit­i­cal, Pub­lic and Ju­di­cial Of­fice Hold­ers, as de­signed by the Rev­enue Mo­bil­i­sa­tion Al­lo­ca­tion and Fis­cal Com­mis­sion, sen­a­tors, mem­bers of the House and a cat­e­gory of leg­isla­tive aides are en­ti­tled to 300 per cent of their an­nual ba­sic salaries as sev­er­ance pay.

An av­er­age mem­ber of the se­nate or a mem­ber of the House has five leg­isla­tive aides, in­di­cat­ing that sen­a­tors and rep­re­sen­ta­tives have a to­tal of 545 and 1,800 aides, re­spec­tively, ex­clud­ing the four pre­sid­ing of­fi­cers who have ad­di­tional aides.

An aide to one of the pre­sid­ing of­fi­cers of the 8th Assem­bly, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, said his boss and other law­mak­ers had since been paid. He lamented that he and other aides had yet to re­ceive their sev­er­ance al­lowances.

The aide said, “No­body (aide) that I know or have con­tacted has con­firmed be­ing paid. Should they be pay­ing it grad­u­ally? Was it not bud­geted for in 2019? What peo­ple are sus­pect­ing is that the money was fixed (in an ac­count). If they had not paid the law­mak­ers since, the whole world would have known. They set­tled their own (al­lowance) way back in Au­gust and septem­ber, 2019.

And it is the same money – same bud­get – for the law­mak­ers and the aides. but there is no aide that I know that has been paid.”

speak­ing on the is­sues, the Na­tional Assem­bly Leg­isla­tive Aides’ Fo­rum, con­firmed that pay­ment of sev­er­ance al­lowances to aides had be­gun but that the man­age­ment had yet to pay salary ar­rears to those presently in ser­vice.

The Gen­eral sec­re­tary of NASSLAF, Mr Michael Oladipo, dis­missed the claims by the man­age­ment that sev­eral aides re­sumed work with­out be­ing for­mally ap­pointed by the Na­tional Assem­bly ser­vice

Com­mis­sion.

The NASSLAF scribe stated that sev­eral law­mak­ers could not no­tify the NASC of the ap­point­ment of aides as they were still de­fend­ing their leg­isla­tive seats in court.

Oladipo said, “They have paid our sev­er­ance (al­lowance) and it is still on­go­ing; they have yet to pay all the aides. They are cur­rently pay­ing. The real is­sue that could bring labour dishar­mony with the 9th Na­tional Assem­bly is the de­lib­er­ate re­fusal by the man­age­ment not to pay the ar­rears of salaries owed aides, par­tic­u­larly with the ben­e­fit of hind­sight; they know that aides re­sume with their prin­ci­pals ir­re­spec­tive of when such let­ters were is­sued be­tween June (11, 2019) when the Assem­bly was in­au­gu­rated and De­cem­ber 2019.”

An aide to one of the cur­rent pre­sid­ing of­fi­cers in the Na­tional Assem­bly, how­ever, dis­closed that apart from the de­lay that had lasted over six months, the ben­e­fi­cia­ries were com­plain­ing about the mode of pay­ment adopted by the man­age­ment.

The source said, “There is a new de­vel­op­ment about sev­er­ance al­lowance for aides of the 8th Na­tional Assem­bly. some­one at the CNA’S of­fice in­formed me that the money has come but these civil ser­vants want to play a fast one.

The civil ser­vants are in­sist­ing on pay­ing state-by-state, in­stead of bank-by-bank, mean­ing that they will start a new process of sort­ing out their states, whereas the com­mit­tee rec­om­mended that they be paid bank-by-bank and this had been sorted out.”

When con­tacted, the Di­rec­tor of In­for­ma­tion, Nass, Mr Rawl­ings Agada, said he could not con­firm the cur­rent sta­tus of sev­er­ance al­lowance pay­ment or salary ar­rears.

“I can­not con­firm that. I am out of town. It is not im­pos­si­ble but I can­not con­firm that to you,” he said.

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