*Legislative aides protest unpaid allowances
By Sola Oyeyipo in Abuja
The House of Representatives resumed from its two- month recess Tuesday but adjourned till Wednesday in honour of one of Honourable Funke Adedoyin who died on September 28.
There were expectations that the House will on resumption immediately pass the budgets of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies for the 2019 election.
There were also fears that All Progressives Congress lawmakers were likely to move for the removal of the Speaker, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, who recently dumped the ruling party for the Peoples Democratic Party. But Dogara who presided over the sitting immediately adjourned plenary in honour of Hon Adedoyin in line with the tradition of the House.
Listed on the order paper on Tuesday were three bills: A bill for an act to amend the National Tobacco Control Act (2015), to address the lacuna that may be easily exploited by tobacco industry in Nigeria and cure certain defects in the act; a bill for an act to establish the National Security Trust Fund to provide for the maintenance of a trust fund that will cater for the procurement of military security infrastructure and technology for security agencies in Nigeria; and a bill for an act to amend Section 1 (3) of the Federal University of Technology Act, Cap. F23, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, by providing for the power of the university to establish technology park for the conduct of intervention and innovation in technology and for related matters.
None of those issues was considered before the House adjourned.
There are however indications that the plot against the speaker will intensify ahead of Wednesday’s resumption of plenary.
Hon. Mohammed Monguno (Borno State-APC) said: “My advice is that the Senate President and the Speaker, House of Representatives should honourably resign since they have changed the party on which platform they were elected.” He added that being opposition lawmakers and minority in the National Assembly, “It is going to affect core legislative duties because the manifesto of the party they belong to is in conflict with the ruling party and it will affect the agenda of the ruling party. And that may lead to sabotage.”
Asked if the APC was considering moving to remove the leaders, Monguno said: “If we can muster the majority we are going to move to impeach them.”
On his part, Hon. Sergius Ogun (Edo State-PDP), did not only say it was unnecessary to consider removing the National Assembly leadership, he emphasised that no party had the constitutional requirement to embark on the venture. “No party has the 210-majority needed to remove the House of Representatives leadership and that should be the last thing on anybody’s mind.”
Meanwhile, the National Assembly resumed to a protest by legislative aides who lamented non-payment of their salaries and allowances and called on the leadership to urgently ensure their entitlements were paid.
The aides who occupied the lobby of the legislative chamber carrying placards with various inscriptions and chanting anti-National Assembly leadership songs, said most of their basic entitlements have been denied them since the inception of the eight assembly.
A leader of the protesters, Ofem Eko, said: “Our protest is to call on the leadership of the National Assembly to make sure our money is paid on time. The last time we were paid salary was August 15 and yet we have bills to pay. We have not received Duty Tour Allowance for three years. Since we resumed we have not been trained. Many times, we call on management they will say they are working on it. If we go to the Clerk of the National Assembly he will refer us to the Senate President, if we go to the Senate President he will refer us to the Clerk.”
The protesters said there were 3000 of their members who were experiencing hardships over non-payment of money due to them by the National Assembly leadership.