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Parliamentary Workers Protest Poor Welfare, Alleged Illegal Sittings

The Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), Anambra State chapter, has voiced their grievances in a peaceful protest on Tuesday, highlighting concerns over poor welfare conditions and alleged irregularities within the state Assembly. 

Assembling outside the assembly complex, protesters brandished placards and banners, chanting slogans demanding improved treatment from the state lawmakers.

Central to their concerns were issues regarding entitlements, negligence, and what they perceived as an inadequate response from the management of the Assembly. 

Promise Onwukwe, Deputy National President of PASAN, decried the disparity between the conditions experienced by the staff and the privileges enjoyed by the lawmakers themselves. 

Onwukwe said, “Anambra State House of Assembly has failed in its responsibilities to workers. We are talking about the payment of an enhanced salary called CONYLESS, staff training, the provision of laptops, the establishment of an ICT unit, the employment of more staff, and utility vehicles for the Assembly.

“You go to collect or submit mail, and you will be trekking from one office to the other under the sun, while those that you are working for are cruising in air-conditioned vehicles.

“It might not be far from the truth that the state governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, may have provided all these things, but they are nowhere to be found, and this is unfortunate.

Furthermore, Onwukwe pointed to the dire state of the assembly compound, with overgrown grass and frequent encounters with dangerous wildlife contributing to an unsafe work environment. 

Allegations were also raised regarding the purported utilization of National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) members to fill staffing gaps, a practice which the protesters deemed unacceptable.

Okoye Abraham, Chairman of Anambra State PASAN, corroborated these claims, emphasizing the inadequate response from the authorities in addressing the staff’s grievances.

 “Instead of them addressing our problem, they decided to get more corps members to carry out the business of the house,” he lamented.

In response, Ikenna Sylvester, the majority leader of the house, refuted the allegations, attributing the strike to disputes over allowances rather than fundamental issues of welfare. 

Sylvester defended the Assembly’s actions, asserting that staff members were expected to work within the confines of their assigned duties, under the jurisdiction of the Head of Service.

“They are duty bound to listen to where they are posted and know exactly what they are expected to do and if they don’t want to work at the House of Assembly, they are free to go back to the Head of Service and not to come here to disrupt the activities of the House of Assembly,” he said.

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