N25bn emoluments: Legislative aides drag CNA to DSS, EFCC , ICPC over non – payment

Serious trouble seems to be lcoming  for the Clerk to the National Assembly ( CNA) , Architect Ojo Amos Olatunde  for allegedly mismanaging N25billion meant for payment of salaries arrears and minimum wage for about 2,500 legislative aides serving the 469 federal lawmakers.

Consequently the aggrieved aides , had already petition the Director General of Department of State Services ( DSS) , Mr Yusuf Magaji Bichi to pick up the CNA for interrogation and also planning to storm the offices of the Economic and Financial  Crimes Commission ( EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and other related Offences ( ICPC ) on Monday next week .

In a lengthy statement of action  issued by the coordinator of the legislative aides,  Zebis Prince on Thursday , and made available to newsmen, the CNA was pointedly accused of owing the legislative aides 21 – month new  Minimum Wage arrears , 2019 salary arrears , DTA and other sundry  allowances totalling about N25billion which they alleged , have been appropriated for .

The statement co signed by another legislative aide , Tony Omali is enclosed with letter written to DSS dated 7th February , 2022.

 

The letter titled: “CONTINUED REFUSAL OF THE CNA/MANAGEMENT TO FULFIL THE TERMS OF OUR UNDERSTANDING ON THE ISSUE OF SALARY ARREARS AND MINIMUM WAGES” , reads For the umpteenth time, we write to you once again to intimate you on our frustration with regards to the protracted issue of our salary arrears and non-payment of our minimum wages.

 

 

 

“Despite your kind intervention and inspite of these sums being captured in the 2021 supplementary budget that was passed and signed into law by the President on July 22, 2021, the Arc. Amos Ojo led management have continued in its impunity of breaching all known financial regulations by deploying Legislative Aides funds to other uses.

 

“The CNA had by its own admission stated that twenty-five billion naira (N25b) was released under the service wide votes but instead of paying Legislative Aides their salary arrears and minimum wage arrears, the CNA  continues to flout the appropriation law and the House resolution passed on Wednesday, March 17, 2021 wherein the House mandated the management to pay these outstanding liability since the monies have been approved and appropriated for.

 

“On the issue of the minimum wages, the story is the same. Recall that in December, 2021, our sister Union, PASAN members were paid 15 months of a possible 24 months’ minimum wage arrears. Strangely, the same management paid Legislative Aides just 4 months of same possible 24 months’ minimum wage (11 months less than what was paid PASAN members). To make matters worse, out of the 6-7 months’ salary arrears owed Legislative Aides, the CNA instructed account to pay just one months to eligible Aides and all these were done without consultation or explanation.

 

 

 

“There was never a meeting or discussion between management and representatives of Legislative Aides where staggered payment of these entitlements were discussed or resolved.

 

“We are appalled at the discretionary manner in which the CNA runs the affairs of the National Assembly. The CNA runs the National Assembly in a Machiavellian, despotic and irrational manner like 16th century fief lord subjecting a public institution to his whims and caprices.

 

“If there was ever any doubt about our position regarding the CNA, this current insult on Aides has further reinforced our belief that this current CNA does not possess the qualities to hold public office.

As can be deduced from the foregoing, it is clear that the issues of non-payment of Legislative Aides salary arrears and minimum wage that have been appropriated and released twice is not for lack of fund but deliberate attempt at misappropriation and scant regard for constituted authority.

 

” We challenge the management led by the CNA to prove us wrong by opening the National Assembly accounts for scrutiny. Acting under the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, we had written to the CNA for releases made to the National Assembly for 2021 but as usual, he rebuffed the official request. It is such impunity and lack of consequence that has emboldened the CNA to continuously mismanage Legislative Aides funds with reckless abandon.

 

“This correspondence has become imperative because of the role you have played in ensuring there is peace in National Assembly over this salary arrears debacle.

 

“What has been established beyond all reasonable doubt now is that the people threatening the breach of peace in National Assembly is the CNA led management who has refused to fully pay Aides their money despite the money being released twice.

 

“This clarification is necessary so that the DSS should know where to beam their searchlight when Legislative Aides will commence series of actions to drive home their demands.

 

” The minimum wage is a law. The budget is a law. The CNA has serially breached these laws by refusing to release these funds to hapless Aides for over two years now.

 

“Flowing from the above, starting from next week, we shall take certain steps to bring our sorry plight to the attention of the world in the hope that they might be able to call the ‘Emperor’ to order. Some of these steps include but not limited to media campaigns/interviews, submission of petitions to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and ultimately instituting a suit against the Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA) and the National Assembly as an institution”.

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