Some aggrieved legislative aides to federal lawmakers petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) on Monday, over an alleged “criminal misuse of their legitimate budgeted rights “by the Clerk of the National Assembly, Arc. Amos Ojo Olatunde.
Aides who staged separate peaceful protests at the headquarters of the two anti-corruption agencies in Abuja, said the non-payment of their dues had turned them into “slaves”.
They held banners and placards bearing various inscriptions denouncing the action of the CNA.
Some of the signs read: “We are helpers, not slaves”, “Survey the Clerk of the National Assembly and NASS presidents for helper rights”, “NASS management: pay us our legitimate arrears and the minimum wage”, “Pay us now: salary arrears, minimum wage, DTA, training”, “helpers in the National Assembly are not slaves. A worker deserves his salary” among others.
They therefore called for transparency in the management of the statutory aid account to avoid a breach of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.
In the petition dated February 14, 2022 and addressed to EFCC President Abdulrasheed Bawa and ICPC President Bolaji Owasanoye, the assistants said they were also receiving Touring Allowance (DTA), arrears of minimum wage from January 2020, training among others.
The petition signed by Zebis Kekung and Kingsley Ejekwu Esq. for relevant legislative aides of the 9th National Assembly, reads: “The non-payment of these accrued lawful fees has turned legislative aides into legislative slaves.
“We have been impoverished to the point that we are unable to meet our financial obligations such as paying school fees, hospital bills, house rents, debt service, which puts us in several embarrassing situations. .
“All the avenues we have employed to appeal to the conscience of the President of the Senate, Senator (Dr) Ahmad Lawan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. ‘Femi Gbajabiamila and the Clerk of the National Assembly, Arch. Amos Ojo turned out to be aborted hence the last resort for this petition.
“It is instructive to note that legislative aid matters fall directly within the competence of the President.
“We therefore implore you to use your good offices to investigate this criminal misuse of our budgeted legitimate rights, bring the culprits to book and ensure the prompt payment of compensation and arrears.
“For the avoidance of doubt, our prayers are: payment of our salary arrears which have been duly appropriated; payment of our DTA allowance and training allowance including laptops; payment of our minimum wage from January 2020 to date and transparency in the management of the statutory aid account to avoid a violation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007”.
The petition was also copied to President Muhammadu Buhari; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Police Inspector General Alkali Baba Usman and State Security Service (SSS) Director General Yusuf Bichi.
The others are the President’s Senior Special Assistant for National Assembly (Senate) Affairs, Senator Babajide Omoworare; Project on Economic and Social Rights and Responsibility (SERAP); BUDGET; Political and Legal Advocacy Center (PLAC) and Human Rights Radio.