Those who served as legislative aides in the 7th National Assembly have come under the aegis of 7th Senate Legislative Aides Forum to alleged that the National Assembly Management diverted the sum of N10.6bn Severance and Duty Tour Allowance (DTA) which was reflected in the supplementary budget assented to by former President Goodluck Jonathan in early December, 2014.
Speaking with select journalists at the National Assembly gate after being stopped by security operatives from taking their protests to the Assembly Complex, Mr. Afo Godwin, who spoke on behalf of the forum lamented non payment of their allowances despite repeated assurances from the management only for the fund which was appropriated for same reason to be diverted to what they later learnt was a priority of National Assembly management.
“My name is Mr. Afo Godwin representing the 7th National Assembly Legislative Aides and we are here to find out few things regarding payment our DTA, severance and others which was reflected in the supplementary appropriations and which we were promised that it would be paid before Christmas”, he said.
Mr. Afo Godwin, who was the head of domestic Aides to former Senate President, David Mark, said there was no communication between National Assembly management and the forum while expressing anger at denying them entry into their former offices.
“You can see that we are here in our numbers, but they refused us entry despite explaining to them that we are here for peace”, he lamented.
Member of the forum who identified himself as Alhaji Sule Bagudu from Kebbi state emphasised the diversion of funds meant for them, saying: “They have diverted this money to another project and that is why we are here for explanations.”
The forum further explained that arrears of allowances stood at N7.6bn, but N10.6bn was approved and wondered that their principals in the 7th Assembly have been cleared of their allowances while they were yet to be paid.
“All our arreas cumulatively was N7.6bn, but we read in dailies that N10.6bn was appropriated in the supplementary while former Senators we worked with have been fully paid and they diverted our own”, he fumed.
He accused some executives of the forum of compromising their stand by not being available despite a circular detailing all members to be part of the day’s protest.
“Some of our executives have been compromised because they don’t pick calls, and they initiated circulars calling for this protest only for them to stay away”, he said.