…cut off power, water to National Assembly
Workers, under the auspices of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria, began their four-day warning strike on Monday, crippling legislative and business activities at the National Assembly.
They blocked entrances to the complex and cut off power and water supplies to the building.
It was learnt that the National Assembly Service Commission chapter of PASAN also shut down the secretariat on Monday.
The Punch reports that the workers threatened a much worse situation on Tuesday (today) when members of the Senate and House of Representatives will reconvene for plenary.
Workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said legislative activities would be crippled on Tuesday.
“No sergeant-at-arms will carry the mace, they will carry it themselves,” one of them was heard saying this.
The workers in the early hours of Monday stormed the National Assembly complex and took charge of the gates. They initially prevented cars from gaining entry but later changed their minds. But they forced the occupants of the cars to open and close the gates themselves.
The development forced banks and restaurants to close up shop.
The workers had planned to adopt a sit-at-home approach but changed the plan.
In a letter of notification sent to the leadership of the National Assembly on Saturday, PASAN stated that all its members would stay at home for four days – from Monday to Thursday.
The notice read, “Sequel to our earlier notice of strike as contained in the communiqué dated 29th November, 2018, the congress of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria, National Assembly chapter, unanimously resolved at its emergency congress held on December 14, 2018 to embark on a four-day warning strike commencing from December 17 to 20.
“By this notice, be kindly informed that the entire members of PASAN shall stay off their respective duties on the above mentioned dates.”
It was observed that lawmakers stayed away from the premises during the protest.
The Majority Leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, told reporters the issue would be resolved.
He said, “I was not assigned by the entire leadership of the National Assembly to comment on the issue but an emergency meeting will be held today (Monday) for a quick and lasting solution to the crisis.”
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, on Monday the ruling All Progressives Congress said, “The shameful development in the National Assembly, which has seen parliamentary workers shut down the legislative complex following the commencement of their four-day strike, is a sad reminder of what Nigerians witnessed under the Peoples Democratic Party administration.
“The PDP’s 16-year rule was characterised by such incidences of unpaid salaries, ghost workers and a shocking disdain for workers’ welfare.”