House of reps members have shot down reports that they were given N100 million in compensation for just showing up to work.
According to Daily Sun, the amount was given to federal lawmakers as a sop by the executive branch, based on a statement attributed to Mr. Christopher Onyeka, National Assistant General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
He criticised the federal government for distributing N100 million in relief to every member of the National Assembly while only providing a bag of rice to a dozen citizens.
The NLC had given the government an ultimatum on September 1 regarding the delay in sharing palliatives, threatening indefinite labour action if its demands were not met within 21 days.
The union claimed that the government had ignored its demands for wage increases, the introduction of palliative care measures, tax breaks for government employees, and a review of the minimum wage.
Akin Rotimi, chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, countered that the claim lacked any factual basis and argued that openness and honesty are essential to the success of any democracy.
He doubted that Onyeka was representing the NLC’s official position on the claim but stressed the need to set the record straight regardless.
To put it bluntly, “We state categorically that Onyeka lied in his claim that members of the National Assembly were given N100 million as palliatives.”
He said the claim is malicious, irresponsible, and made in bad faith because at no point in time did members receive money from the executive arm as palliatives.
He lamented that Onyeka would distort the truth to support the legitimate demands of the NLC and in the process denigrate NASS and incite public opinion against it.
He claims that the House of Representatives is demanding an immediate retraction of this false statement and an apology from the NLC.
When making its legitimate agitations, the NLC runs the risk of having its voice discredited as a crucial stakeholder in Nigeria’s development. In less than 100 days of the 10th Assembly’s term, we have shown our dedication to the well-being of Nigerian workers and all Nigerians. We would like to remind the NLC of this fact.
The legislative branch responded swiftly to a request from the executive branch for approval of funds for palliative care for Nigerians, among other measures.
He said the House had repeatedly urged the administration to move quickly so that aid could be distributed to the most vulnerable Nigerians.
While encouraging NLC to view NASS as partners rather than adversaries, he said that the House had also joined the call for an immediate review of the minimum wage.
He reassured people that the House was still dedicated to improving Nigerians’ lives despite the hardships many have faced since the fuel subsidy was eliminated.
One source at the NLC secretariat urged federal lawmakers to be honest with Nigerians about their resources last night.
We challenge them to show off their gift. We will not be intimidated by their hollow threat,” the insider declared.
Early in September, workers went on strike for two days across the country because the Federal Government had not yet followed through on its promises to end the fuel subsidy.
Labour’s decision halted business and commerce in several Federation states.
Joe Ajaero, president of the NLC, has stated that the Congress will not hesitate to engage in indefinite industrial action if the government does not meet its demands.
The same enthusiasm and resolve that drove the warning strike, he said, will be essential if we end up going on an indefinite nationwide strike.