OrderPaperToday- The National Assembly Clerk, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, has explained why the parliamentary staff of the federal chambers have not been paid salaries.
Earlier today, members staff shutdown both chambers preventing the lawmakers from holding plenary while demanding for their Consolidated Legislative Salary Structures (CONLESS) owed since 2010.
Speaking to correspondents during the protest on Tuesday, Mr. Sani-Omolori, who was accused of diverting the funds, said that the necessary increment of the National Assembly budget was captured in the 2018 budget but the funds have not been disbursed.
He said: “It is a matter that has been on for some time, there are despondent and we have also tried to explain to them… There was an increase and we approved an increase payment for them which was captured in the 2018 budget but as it is today, it is a common knowledge about the level of implementation of the 2018 budget especially the new addition to the National which has not been implemented. That is where we have hoped that that addition will be paid to the extent that the money is not released, there is no way we can effect the payment.”
He noted that it was “wrong” for the parliamentary staff to stop elected members from sitting.
He said: “We tried to prevail on them to do things in the correct way. As a matter of fact, I wrote to them. I don’t know whether you have seen my response. I also had series of formal and informal consultations with their leadership all through yesterday in a bid to make them back out of what is clearly an act that is not in tune with even their own rules. As you can see, here they are.”
When asked if he was disappointed with their action after he addressing them, the clerk stated that he is not disappointed rather “worried that a situation where you think that people should be able to look at things properly and then they are not looking at it that is my worry.”
He appealed to the protesters to exercise patience on the system because the presiding officers had already agreed on their request to fund 100 percentage of the CONLESS.
He added: ‘It was agreed with them. It was bargained and we came to that agreement and they captured it in the budget. So how is it within their powers if the money is not released? And in any case, the reality on the ground is that it is not even the national assembly that is suffering from the non-release of funds, it is confronting everyone. I think we all have to be patient with the time and the system.”