The Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) has threatened to shut down activities in the nation’s 36 state assemblies and the National Assembly from Monday next week should the government fail to act on financial autonomy for state legislatures.
PASAN, the umbrella body of parliamentary workers in the country, made this known on Tuesday in Abuja, during a protest over the non-implementation of financial autonomy of state House of assemblies.
National President of PASAN, Comrade Usman Muhammad, who spoke on behalf of the protesters, said despite the ultimatum issued by the union, the government continued to turn deaf ears on the issue.
He called on the leadership of the National Assembly to prevail on relevant bodies and governors to implement the law on legislature autonomy as contained in order 10 of 2020.
His words: “You will all recall that we sent an ultimatum in respect to financial autonomy for state legislatures and nothing was done.
“The first 21 days expired, the 14 days have expired. Today we are here in the National Assembly to show our grievances and get what is rightfully ours;§that is the independence of the legislature. For a while our independence has been denied, the financial autonomy that has been granted by the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Order 10 that was issued for the implementation of the financial autonomy is still hanging, and it is important or worthy of note that some people somewhere decided to (defy) the constitution by the name of Governors forum, I don’t know if the governor forum is superior to the constitution of this country.
“Today we are here to match, starting from the National Assembly to tell the members that enough is enough, that when there is no legislature, there is no country. Most of these governors were members of the National Assembly but because they are state governors they want to deny the independence of the legislature.
“We will not accept that. Give us legislative autonomy. Anybody standing on the way of legislative independence we will use all the weapons in our arsenal to fight him. The constitution must be obeyed, they have sworn to protect the constitution.
“We are (also) sending a warning to the speakers of state assemblies, that it is better you stand up and do something or we will come after you. Today we are after the governors, we are after the implementation committee that the needful must be done, and in the next six days if the implementation is not done we are shutting down the whole 36 state assemblies and the National Assembly.”
While saying the union will not tolerate any roundtable discussion that would delay the implementation of the financial autonomy, the PASAN president said the association would not fold its hands and allow unnecessary delay tactics.
“It is in their interest to address this issue, two years have gone on this, we are not going for any roundtable. We are not houseboys, we are not beggars,” he said.
Also speaking, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said there is no reason for the continued delay in implementing the financial autonomy Act for parliaments.
Represented by a former lawmaker and Director in NLC, Hon Uche Ekwe, Wabba called on PASAN not to relent in the struggle and assured of the full support of the Congress in ensuring their demands are granted.
The protest saw members of the union marching to the National Assembly with various placards and demanded to hear from the lawmakers on their take on the issue.
Some of the placards read; “Obey the constitution”, “Governors Forum not superior to the constitution”, “AGF implement Order 10, 2020”, “Our benefits must not be subject to governors”, among others.