The Abia State Government has so far not given any concrete assurances regarding the Financial and Administrative Autonomy of the Abia State House of Assembly as demanded for State Legislatures by the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria PASAN, as the strike action the Union embarked on entered it’s second week, News Admiral has gathered.
The revelation was made by Comrade Kalu Sunday, Chairman, Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria, Abia State House of Assembly Chapter in a Media Parley.
“As at today, we do not have Administrative Autonomy, we do not have Financial Autonomy and our demand for the Consolidated Legislative Salary Structure, CONLESS, has not been given a listening ear and this CONLESS is for every Legislative worker in Nigeria.”
Comrade Kalu further hinted that so far, no Government Official has made any attempt to open up any channel of negotiation with the Union to chart the way forward.
“Recently, the Governor appointed 17 Local Government Transition Committee Chairmen and their Deputies totalling 34 and the number of the Abia State House of Assembly Service Commission under agitation is only 7; 2 from each Senatorial District and a Chairman that can be drawn from anywhere. The delay in selecting and inaugurating just 7 persons to kickstart the Commission is still not understandable. The Union is tired of promises as it stands.”
Comrade Kalu highlighted that the Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Emmanuel Emeruwa, since the inception of the strike action has not spoken with the leadership of the Union with a view to nipping in the bud the lingering logjam.
“What we are fighting for is the Institution, which the Honourable Members will be the major beneficiaries. The workers are even fighting for them but to our greatest surprise, the Speaker or any House Functionary has not bothered to address the protesting Unionists and we are still waiting. We will not relent.”
On the alleged plan by the Honourable Members to screen the Transition Committee Nominees outside the Assembly, Comrade Kalu said “it is still a speculation, a rumour. Whatever is done outside the Assembly, without the Mace and workers of the Assembly is not normal. It is not right and Union will condemn it in-toto. We have heard they are planning to sit somewhere and clear the recently nominated TC Chairmen and the Union is totally against such. The House is on strike and cannot sit without the Clerks at the Table. The battle is even to their advantage and one wonders why they are purportedly sabotaging the leadership of the Union. TC Chairmen cannot be cleared in a private residence while nothing is being done about your Commission. Your own house is on fire and you are not doing anything to quench it. You are not interested in organizing your own house.”
The strike, Comrade Kalu said is a national strike and “we are speaking out in Abia because we are far below what is obtainable in other States. Imo State has their Commission in operation for over 10 years. Same with Ebonyi and others”.
The PASAN leader said “according to the amended Constitution, the State Accounts and Allocation Committee, which is the Disbursement Committee has the Commissioner of Finance a Member, the Chief Registrar of the High Court, the Clerk and Finance Officer of the House of Assembly as part of same”.
“We are not backing down and there is no going back if the demands are not met”, Comrade Kalu concluded.