A group under the auspices of Concern Staff of National and State Houses of Assembly has called on the leadership of the National Assembly (NASS) to ensure that the new condition of service for legislative workers is fully implemented.
The call is contained in an open letter signed by the National Chairman of the group, Mr Salisu Funtua, and addressed to the leadership of both chambers of the National Assembly in Abuja.
Funtua recalled that in 2018, the staff of the National Assembly under the aegis of the Parliamentary Association of Nigeria (PASAN) agitated for a new condition of service.
According him, this is against the backdrop of unsatisfactory remunerations as obtained in other developed and developing legislatures across the globe
He recalled that protests led to the shutdown of the National Assembly complex for one week and prevented the free flow of legislative activities in the complex.
According to him, to break the deadlock, the Management of the National Assembly, the leadership of National Assembly Service Commission (NASC), the presiding officers of the National Assembly and PASAN signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which gave birth to the revised condition of service.
Funtua said that the `Next Level Due Process’, an NGO, had urged the leadership of NASS and NASC to stop the implementation of the amended National Assembly Conditions of Service, challenging the process.
“The process which led to the adoption and consequent gazette of the new revised conditions of service for the Staff of the National Assembly by the 8th National Assembly of which you were one of the leaders and influential voices that consummated the Condition of Service.
“As you may be aware, many State Houses of Assembly have adopted and are domesticating it,’’ he said.
Funtua said nine months into implementation, the newly constituted NASC, after assumption of office, set up a six-member committee headed by former Sen. Abubakar Tutari to revisit the conditions of service in response to petitions.
He said that there was a vast conspiracy and coordinated campaign to impugn the integrity of the process and that there was need to save the assembly from power brokers.
“The higher national interest should be uppermost in the minds of leaders at all times; the present maneuvers while it may serve the interest of the few power brokers, will wreak incalculable damage on the National Assembly by representing it in a bad light.
“The present debacle demands selfless leadership, we pray that you will seize the moment and rise up to this historic challenge by intervening on behalf of moral rectitude, due process and in the overall interest of the Legislature as an institution.
“For immediate action, we demand that the National Assembly leadership should prevail on the Chairman of the Commission to disband the Sen. Abubakar Tutari Committee and set aside its recommendations and Position Paper as the Committee cannot serve both as Investigator, judge and the executor of the said recommendations.
“We urge you to ensure that the peace that NASS Management has been enjoying since inception is allowed to reign and fostered while we look forward to your timely intervention,’’ he said.
He called for the discharge of the Tutare’s committee as it will unleash confusion, trigger industrial disharmony within the National Assembly and the state legislatures.
Funtua also said that the committee would set a dangerous precedence, if allowed to stand.