Delta State House of Assembly workers under the umbrella of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), Delta State chapter, have sealed off the Assembly complex ahead of the House resumption of plenary on January 20, 2015. The workers have embarked on an indefinite strike over what they termed a ‘failure’ of the Assembly management to pay staff their several allowances and attend to other pressing welfare needs.
The Assembly workers commenced their strike over a week ago and have accused the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Peter Onwusanya, and other principal officers of the house of allegedly withholding their allowances to for their primaries and their elections due next month.
Confiding in or correspondent, a member of the top management of the Assembly stated that a member of the House had alerted them that they should not hope for their allowances and other entitlements because everything has gone into primaries and for the election billed for next month.
“The lawmaker told us in very clear terms that we should not expect a dime as far as our allowances, claims, and other entitlements are concerned because Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan refused to release funds to them for their elections. We know the battle that was on ground to secure the PDP ticket and to win their next month election.”
“As we talk, the speaker and other principal officers of the House have continued to pay deaf ears to our demands. The most annoying aspect of the whole thing is that despite all this the speaker had the guts to travel abroad for over a week and on returning, he has not deemed it fit to find a solution to our plight, rather he is busy attending political rallies here and there and holding meetings on how to win his next month election,” the official stated.
In a 15-point communiqué dated 5th January, 2015 and signed by PASAN chairman McCartney Obrotu and Organizing Secretary Emmanuel Osubor, PASAN insisted that until their demands are met, the legislators would not be allowed to resume sittings.
Listing their demands to include payment of outstanding claims and allowances, training and retraining of staff; provision of departmental and committee vehicles as well as unhindered assess to car and housing loans by staff, among others, PASAN stressed that the strike action became a last resort after the leadership and management of the state House of Assembly deliberately reneged in meeting with their demands.
While passing a vote of ‘no confidence’ on the Secretary of the House of Assembly Service Commission, Isioma Nwabuoku, and few other top management staff for what they described as their inability to adequately represent workers’ interest, PASAN called for the immediate replacement Nwabuoku and few other top management staff for allegedly conniving with the house leadership to deny staff of their welfare packages.
On a visit to the Assembly complex yesterday, aggrieved members of PASAN were seen seated, barricading the gate, where they set up a mock parliament as a means of pressing home their demands.
Commenting on the neglectful attitude of the house leadership, the Vice Chairman of PASAN, Felix Egbejave, and Public Relations Officer, Afure Galaxy, condemned in strong terms what they described wickedness on the part of the leadership of the House.
“Our welfare as staff has been grossly neglected for over 10 years and monies appropriated for us have often times diverted to other personal usage by the leadership and top management of the Delta State House of Assembly. This time around we have decided to come out, when it was made clear to us that our money has been diverted to primaries and elections.”
Meanwhile, promises made in a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker, Patrick Nwanze, to resolve the outstanding issues have failed.
Nwanze, however, appealed to the striking workers to resume work in the interest of peace.