By Ezrel Tabiowo, Special Assistant (Press), to President of the Senate
The leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives on Monday waded into the non-payment of severance allowances for legislative aides who served in the Eighth National Assembly between 2015 and 2019.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, met the relevant agencies of government led by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.
The meeting, which was held behind closed doors, was attended by principal officers of the Senate and House of Representatives.
Also present at the meeting was the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze.
Lawan, while speaking on the reason for the meeting, said the essence was to ensure the payment of severance allowances for legislative aides who worked between 2015 and 2019.
“The tenure of legislative aides employed by the National Assembly Commission and posted to members of the National Assembly is tied to the tenure of the National Assembly. Therefore, they are entitled to severance allowance,” he said.
According to Lawan, prior to the intervention by both chambers on Monday, the Senate leadership last week had a meeting with the management of the National Assembly and the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) led by the Chairman of the Commission, Engr. Elias Mbam.
The Senate President disclosed that following the meeting with RMAFC, the leadership identified some difficulties on who is supposed to pay the severance allowances to aides who served from 2015 to 2019.
Commenting on the development, Lawan said, “It is only fair that we give them what is due to them (aides).
“We realise there was need to bring on board for this discussion the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the National Assembly Service Commission as well, so that in this meeting we are able to discuss and finalise where the source of the severance allowance for the legislative aides will be.
“And the presence of both chambers here tells us that this is a matter that affects the entire National Assembly.
“All the aides of the Senators and House of Representatives who completed their assignment are affected on both sides. That is why the principal officers of both chambers are here,” Lawan added.
Principal officers from the Senate at the meeting include: Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege; Deputy Leader, Ajayi Boroffice; Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe; Deputy Minority Leader, Emmanuel Bwacha; Deputy Chief Whip, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, and Chairman of Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Olamilekan Adeola.
From the House of Representatives are: Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Idris Wase; Deputy Leader, Peter Apatason; Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu; Deputy Chief Whip, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, and Deputy Minority Whip, Adesegun Adekoya Abdul-Majid.
Also at the meeting were the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Mohammed Sani-Omolori and directors of the National Assembly Service Commission.