Arears; NASSLAF, A Dying Horse By Munir Jafar.

No doubt, the National Assembly Legislative forum members NASSLAF must have resigned to fate over the refusal of both the management, leadership and NASC to offset the huge arears of salaries, minimum wage, Duty tour allowances DTA and other reviewed entitlements of the legislative aides just ten months away to the end of the tenure of the Ninth Assembly in 2023.

Ironically, while it’s sister body, Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria PASAN are getting all attention it deserves with promised of payments staggered from July, August and subsequently to offset the same arears being agitated in the same environment.

NASSLAF members were threatened and harrased with massive arrests and loss of jobs by the stakeholders in the National Assembly for demanding their statutory rights and not privileges.

From the body language of the management of the national assembly headed by Arc Amos Olatunji Ojo who will be due for retirement in December 2022, there is nothing wrong in reneging on payment of numerous allowances to NASSLAF members, after all the previous handlers did worst and went away with it.

For the leadership, it is business as usual as the Senate President, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives have not shown any sign of attention to the frequent agitations of Legislative Aides rather than resort to threat of brickstone and fire, against the backdrop of legitimate agitations in the last three years.

The National Assembly Service Commission NASC had applied lukewarm attitude towards the whole scenario, as it refused to take a neutral stance as the sole employer of members of NASSLAF and PASAN.

This is a clear indication of a partial parent whose children and offshoots were being treated with preferential approach, since the activities of NASSLAF is time bound and tenured, that of PASAN needed more attention from management to avoid national and international embarrassment.

For NASSLAF leadership, series of accusations and counter accusations of meddlesomenes, bribery and corruption from the the National Assembly stakeholders had trailed their activities, as their activities can be likened to the more you look , the less you see, hence they can not be taken by their words.

The leadership of NASSLAF was accused of using the leadership echelon as an opportunity to build affluence,connections and purely for financial gains.

Though, some die hard members of the body had alerted the two main anti graft agencies, the EFCC and ICPC with the impression that funds budgeted for them in the last three years are being diverted by the management of the National Assembly without response, many months after the formal complaint was lodged through a massive protests to the two bodies.

The threat to approach the industrial court is still being contemplated, as salaries and wages commission, Ministry of finance, Budget office kept mute on the unfortunate development.

Since appointments of Legislative Aides is one off, except a reappointment or another opportunities beckon through returning and new members, by May 2023, the leadership, management and NASC must have succeeded in shortchanging NASSLAF members funds and entitlements running into Billions of naira unaccounted for.

The fear of another song from the management of the National Assembly is eminent , after the exit of the pharaoh and inconsiderate leadership under Arc Amos Olatunji Ojo.

This was a case too many in Nigeria parlance , where by people close to the river are been starved with water ,as National Assembly whose primacy is solely to appropriate funds yearly , is engaged in the diversion of money meant for statutory payment of salaries and arears or its workers.

For PASAN , the members may be twice lucky, having gotten an initial tranche of the allowances , with a promise by the stakeholders to pay off in accordance with their agreements.

As at now, PASAN members been threatened with persecution, punishment and outright dismissal, had also engaged in verbal assaults on the management, leadership and NASC having nurtured the actors since the inception of our democratic dispensation in 1999.

The promise of continuous harassment of all the officers involved may play a good favour towards the commencement of payments by the end of July, 2022.

For the toothless and unprotected NASSLAF who had exhausted all avenues, obviously may resign to fate for a better time in Nigeria.

It is shameful before the comity of nations, the international communities, to continue to see and hear the level of decadence in the leadership of Nigeria at all tiers of government, with rights and privileges of people been trampled on.



Munir Jafar writes in from Kano.

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