PASAN Protests In Abuja, Threatens To Shut Down NASS
Parliamentary workers under the auspices of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) have threatened to shut down the National Assembly as well as all state Houses of Assembly in the country, if the financial autonomy legislators, is not implemented with immediate effect.
The union is also demanding the total independence for state legislatures in accordance with the provision of the Constitution, which advocate separation of powers for the three arms of government as well as Executive Order 10 signed by the President.
The parliamentary workers, numbering over 400 drawn from various states across the country, and led by the national leadership staged a protest at the gate of the National Assembly, yesterday, to push home their demand, and submitted a letter to the leadership of the House of Representatives and the Senate on their demand.
In the petition signed by the National President, Comrade Mohammed Usman, and acting General Secretary, Comrade Ikechukwu, the workers said they will be forced to shut down the National Assembly, the 36 state Houses of Assembly, the National Assembly Service Commission, State House of Assembly Service Commission and all agencies under them.
In a petition titled: ‘Demand for full implementation of financial autonomy for State Houses of Assembly as provided for in Constitution Section 121(3) and Presidential Order 10 2020’, and addressed separately to the Senate President, Dr Ahmed Lawan, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, the group demanded immediate intervention of the National Assembly.
The 2-page petition reads “recall that His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the Constitution Fourth Alteration Bill in June 2018 which among other things granted financial autonomy to all State Houses of Assembly in Nigeria and subsequently issued Executive Order 10 to ensure implementation.
“The union considers these actions as great strides toward embedding democratic principle of separation of powers which in turn guarantees positive progressive, effective and efficient checks and balances especially at the state level where Executives have continually arm-twisted the Legislature into total submission thereby negating the essence of separation of powers in a democracy.
“It is, therefore, needful to see that for there to be a robust legislature at the state level, the implementation of the legislative financial autonomy is pertinent.
“It is in consideration of the foregoing that PASAN wishes to express her unreserved disgust and dismayed with the actions of some Nigerians and institutions particularly the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) for aiming to not only discredit, but to exterminate this democratic prerequisite through frustrating its implementation.
“The union has been magnanimous with the virtue of patience by allowing for ample time so that the Federal Government through His Excellency’s implementation committee on financial autonomy for state Judiciary and Legislature would ensure the implementation of the letters of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for over two years now.
“Our members have run out of patience and have resolved to forthwith put an end to condoning further delays to the implementation of the financial autonomy for states Houses of Assembly which in itself is a glaring breach of the Nigerian Constitution.
“As the Union’s motto reads, “Service for Democracy”, the union shall remain committed to serving the nation’s democracy. But the continuous non-implementation of Financial Autonomy at the state level is a huge obstacle before the wheel of democracy and the principle of separation of powers which in turn frustrates our devoted service.
“Consequent upon the foregoing, the union hereby demand for full implementation of the letters of our constitution as provided in Section 121 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“Failure to meet the above demand, the union will have no other option than to direct all its members nationwide to embark on indefinite strike action. By implication, the nationwide strike action shall see the following institutions shut down: National Assembly, National Assembly Service Commission, all state Houses of Assembly, all States Houses of Assembly Service Commission and al agencies under them.”
Similarly, the National Assembly chapter of PASAN has also demanded immediate payment of 22 months of the outstanding national minimum wage, among others. A petition co-signed by PASAN National Assembly Chapter Chairman, Sunday Sabiyi and PASAN National Assembly Service Commission Chairman, Ojemeri Oisameye, dated 25th February, 2021, had issued a 21-day ultimatum for the implementation of the requests, “failure of which industrial harmony cannot be further guaranteed in the workplace.”
Part of the petition read thus: “The Association urged the NASC Commission to direct immediate implementation of the 22-month minimum wage arrears, rent subsidy at 40% of consolidated annual salary, 15% additional peculiar allowance to make 40%, 50% balance of consolidated salary structure (CONLESS), Hazard Allowance at 5% of consolidated monthly salary, gratuity for every retiring staff and all pending promotion arrears.”
JAMB Decries Use Of Fake Results For Admission
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has decried the high level of forgery of A Level certificates used for the registration.
JAMB Registrar, Professor Is-haq Oloyede, who raised the alarm, recalled that the Board had commenced the 2023 Direct Entry registration on Monday, 20th February but immediately suspended it following the discovery of the plethora of devices and machinations to circumvent and compromise the standard of A ‘level qualifications required from DE candidates.
He disclosed that out of 148 candidates verified by Bayero University Kano (BUK), only 6 were found to be genuine.
“By implication 142 of the results were forged. Oloyede said. Bayero University, Kano (BUK) has also consistently brought to the fore the high rate of forgery of A’Level qualifications for DE.
“It was discovered that in previous years, some candidates used unacceptable and forged A’ level certificates/ qualifications to register for Direct Entry and eventually got admitted. For example out of 148 candidates verified by BUK, only 6 were found to be genuine. By implication 142 of the results were forged.
“The Board, concerned stakeholders and institutions are working assiduously to detect such and the ones already found are being dealt with according to the provisions of the law.
“In order to further checkmate the anomaly and to also prevent recurrence of such irregularity, the Board has decided that the 2023 DE registrations will not only be restricted to JAMB (Professional Test Centres (PTCs) but will also be done under strict supervision,” Oloyode said.
“The Board has provided additional guidelines to all DE registration outlets (JAMB-owned centres), Officers of the Board and candidates on the 2023 Direct Entry registration exercise:
“At the point of registration, all candidates must fill in Registration/Matriculation Number of the previous school attended where the qualification was obtained; Subject(s) of qualification; Awarding Institution; Institution actually attended”, he said.
‘Nigerians Have Lost Confidence, Trust In INEC’
As post-election crisis gathers momentum, the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Nigeria’s 2023 general elections has declared that Nigerians have lost confidence and trust in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) owing to lack of transparency and operational failures.
The EU EOM Chief Observer, Barry Andrews, made the assertion at a Media Briefing to present the Mission’s second preliminary reports, in Abuja, Monday.
Andrews noted that although Nigerians had great appetite for democracy and keen to engage in various civic activities, their expectations were dashed.
According to him, the apathy recorded at the governorship and states House of Assembly elections conducted last Saturday was a clear consequence of failures by political elites and “unfortunately, INEC.”
Andrews said: “Obstruction and organised violence limited the free expression of the will of the voters, despite efforts by civil society to promote democratic standards.
“Throughout the Mission, we saw that Nigerians have a great appetite for democracy and are keen to engage in various civic activities. However, in many parts of the country, their expectations were not met.
“Many were disappointed and we witnessed voter apathy that is in part, a clear consequence of failures by political elites, and unfortunately, also by INEC.
“Positively, INEC introduced some corrective measures ahead of Saturday’s polls, allowing a timely delivery of sensitive materials and improved use of election technologies, yet, the institution continued to lack transparency.”
The Mission also observed that voting started early with INEC ad-hoc officials present and ready to serve voters, but the exercise was unfortunately, disrupted by “multiple incidents of thuggery and intimidation of voters, polling officials, observers, and journalists”.
The Mission noted that Lagos, Kano, and other States in the Southern, Northern and Central parts of the country were mostly affected, adding that the election was equally characterised by casualties, fatalities, as well as vote-buying, which according to the observers, further detracted from an appropriate conduct of elections.
“EU EOM observers also saw misuse of administrative resources, including through various financial and in-kind inducements to voters, giving an undue advantage to the party in power.
“Furthermore, the protracted deadlines for candidacy disputes created uncertainty for voters and electoral contestants alike, while clear underrepresentation of women as candidates demonstrated a stark lack of internal party policies to support constitutionally prescribed inclusion
‘Youths To Benefit From Climate Change Innovation Hub’
The Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Sani Tambuwal, has expressed optimism that the recently established National Climate Change Innovation Hub would help in harnessing the potential among Nigerian youths towards addressing climate issues.
The CNA stated this during the commemoration of the 2023 Commonwealth Day with the theme ‘Forging A Sustainable And Peaceful Common Future’ held at the instance of National Assembly management, in Abuja, Monday.
Represented by the Deputy Clerk, National Assembly (DCNA), Barrister Kamoru Ogunlana, Tambuwal observed that the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and other climate issues in the world if not properly managed, would posed great danger to world peace and a sustainable future.
He assured that Federal Government had put measures in place to address some issues on climate change through the establishment of youth climate change hub to harness their ideas and include them in decision-making process as well as develop long-term vision for zero gas emissions.
In her presentation, Mrs. Rabi Audu stressed the need for concerted efforts from all stakeholders towards forging a sustainable and peaceful environment.
Audu also urged the youths to engage in activities and programmes that would promoter innovations and inclusivity for all.
According to her, governments and parliaments have to increase opportunities for schools across the Commonwealth countries, adopt higher education partnerships and development programmes that would lead to economic growth, social inclusion and environmental conservation.
While noting that the establishment of more programmes like the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) would aid the attainment of these, Audu further stressed the need for Commonwealth member countries to establish technical and vocational education that would help in gainfully equipping the youths with skills to further tackle high rate of youth unemployment.
Some of the students who participated in the programme tasked parliaments across Commonwealth member States on the need to hold their governments to account particularly on the areas of public spending, international crisis, investment sustainability and promotion of the benefits of inclusive and diverse representation in truly open societies.
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