Abia legislative workers vow not to reopen Assembly complex unless…
By Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
There is no end in sight to the on-going industrial action by the Abia chapter of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), Friday, vowed not to reopen the State House of Assembly complex until its demands were met.
The union members, had on October 30, shut the Assembly complex after they embarked on indefinite strike.
Their leadership has continued to converge on the assembly gate to enforce total compliance.
Meanwhile, the House has since then been under lock and key as lawmakers and visitors to the complex could not gain access to the Assembly.
PASAN is demanding financial and legislative autonomy of the state legislature nationwide.
Its members decried what they described as the “nonchalant attitude of the state government” over the matter.
They, therefore, insisted that they would not call off the action nor reopen the assembly complex until they achieved “something tangible” for themselves.
The state PASAN Chairman, Mr Sunday Kalu, told newsmen in Umuahia that the group was in shock that no government official had come to address them since the past two weeks the action commenced.
Kalu said that their demands had the backing of the state law, which was properly passed and assented to by the governor.
He said: “We have been at this gate for two weeks, hoping that the Speaker will come and address his people and know how to relate with the executive, but we have not seen him or any House functionary. We are still waiting.
“We will not relent in making sure that the institution, called the legislature, is properly constituted and ready to deliver its services.
“The union is still agitating for the Consolidated Legislative Salary Structure, which is for every legislative worker in Nigeria, but as at today, nothing has been done.”
According to him, it is a national strike, but we are speaking up in Abia because we are far below what other states are doing.
Kalu also spoke on the perceived delay in the inauguration of the seven-member Abia State House of Assembly Service Commission.
He said that the union was tired of promises it had been getting from the State Government.
He kicked against the alleged plan by the state lawmakers to sit outside the assembly complex to confirm the recently nominated Transition Committee (TC) Chairmen for the 17 Local Government Councils.
“We are totally against it and I don’t know how they will sit without the mace, Clerk and the secretaries, who are parliamentary staff.
“You can’t go to your personal residence or lodge to clear the TC Chairmen, while nothing has been done about your own commission, which you are the major beneficiary,” Kalu said.
In a swift reaction, the Deputy Speaker, Mr Augustine Mmeregini, faulted the workers for claiming that the leadership of the House had yet to address them.
Mmeregini, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Information, said that the Speaker, himself and few other officials met with the union leaders and promised them that they would meet the Governor to resolve the matter soon.
“We met with them two days ago and told them that we stand with them.
“Having met with the union leaders, do they now expect us to go to Abuja and address them openly or stay at the assembly gate with them?”