National Assembly workers under the auspices of Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) yesterday made good their threat to embark on a four-day strike action which grounded legislative activities at the federal legislature.
The workers who are pushing for the payment of arrears of 28% increase in their salaries since 2010 stormed the National Assembly in the early hours of yesterday and blocked all entrances into the complex, preventing lawmakers, their aides and visitors from accessing the place.
The workers also cut off essential services, including power and water supply, effectively crippling any form of activity within the premises, even as all the 15 commercial banks operating at different segment of the complex hurriedly closed down for the day.
Also affected by the total shutdown of activities in NASS as a result of the PASAN strike were indoor eateries within the complex whose staff were told to call it a day by their various management due to lack of electricity and water.
The Leadership of the National Assembly, it was learnt, ran from pillar to post in a bid to avert impending disruption of the presentation of the 2019 budget by President Muhammadu Buhari before a joint section of the National Assembly tomorrow.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the leadership of the National Assembly has called for an emergency meeting to save the situation.
Although there was no official statement from the management as at the time of filing this report, Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan (APC Yobe North), told journalists yesterday that the issue would be resolved .
Lawan who spoke in his office disclosed that the leadership of both chambers and management of the National Assembly will have an emergency meeting to chart a way out of the problem
“I am not assigned now by the entire leadership of the National Assembly to comment on the shutdown, but an emergency meeting will be held today (yesterday) for quick and lasting solutions to the crisis”, he said.
The Clerk to the National Assembly, Alhaji Ataba Sani-Omolori, had in the wake of agitation by the aggrieved parliamentary staff dropped the blame at the door step of the executive for not approving the 28% salary increase as captured in the 2018 budget.
Finance of Minister, Aisha Ahmed, confirmed before the National Assembly leadership that the voucher is yet to be backed with cash.
The aggrieved workers had two weeks ago shutdown the National Assembly, stopping lawmakers from sitting.
They blamed the Management of the National Assembly for their plight, just as they insisted on the removal of the Clerk of the National Assembly, Sani Omolori.
Preparatory to the ongoing strike, the staff had last Friday issued a statement, threatening to embark on a four days warning strike beginning from today.
If the crisis is not resolved by today, the possibility of President Buhari coming to the National Assembly for the 2019 budget presentation is seriously threatened as there may be no power supply in the chamber where the presentation is to be made.
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