President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, outgoing Clerk of the National Assembly, Amos Ojo, have been allegedly fingered in the gross abuse of appropriation law, where aides numbering over 200 were denied payments of their salaries and entitlement for over 15 months.
This fragrant abuse has melted untold hardship on these affected legislative aides who have been payrolled since 2021 but were duly paid just four months salary arrears on the pretext that the money was excluded from the 2021 national budget.
You will recal that the National Legislative Aides Forum, NASSLAF on February, 2022 threatened to drag the management to anti-graft agencies, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practicea and other Related Offences Commission, (ICPC) over the non-payment of their 2019 salary arrears, minimum wage and other allowances, which the management is still bluntly adamant to honour.
Investigation revealed that the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and the outgoing Clerk of the National Assembly, Amos Ojo has dirty roles in withholding these salary and allowances.
A staff member in the Account Section of the National Assembly, who claimed anonymity, said the recent covetousness by these top management and principal officers of the National Assembly, to divert allocated salaries to service other inapplicable functions, is gross abuse of appropriation law.
Je added that the adverse effects are pushing staff to extreme poverty level.
He stressed that for the first time in the history of NASS, “a staff is being documented, payrolled and received just four months salary arrears while other months were withheld on no basis but lies and fabrications that the budgeted amount were not covered in the 2021 Budget.
“It is very sad to note that National Assembly passed the Minimum Wage Bill, which was assented to on April, 2018 by President Muhammadu Buhari. Many States and private organisations have complied but this Legislative house had failed to honour its own framework. It is hard to believe that the National Assembly failed in terms of minimum wages Bill compliance despite Federal Government commitment towards it.
“Even when the said salary were budgeted for in 2022, the management and principal officers still diverted it, pushing these Aides to untold hardship,” he frowned.
While demanding the payment of their 15 months salary arrears, the aides said issues of salary payment should be exclusively withdrawn from principal officers’ functions to avert such ugly incidences where staff and contrators were owed for years by the management of the National Assembly.
Efforts to speak with some of the top officials in the management cadre, however, proved abortive.