The House of Representatives has denied claims by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) that its members received N100 million each as palliative from the executive arm.
The National Assistant General Secretary of the NLC, Christopher Onyeka, had in an interview with Punch newspaper, said the congress will embark on another strike over the inability of the government to provide palliative to the masses but gave the National Assembly N70 billion with each member receiving N100 million.
“Can you see the insult that a ward would share a bag of rice and the government calls that a palliative? It is an insult to Nigerians, whereas the government gave legislators N70bn and each of the legislators gets over N100m in a country where Nigerians are suffering,” Mr Onyeka said.
The Senate has 109 members while the House has 360 members.
But the spokesperson of the House, Akin Rotimi (APC, Ekiti), denied the claim, stating that it is malicious and untrue that members of the National Assembly got N100 million each.
“We state categorically that Mr Onyeka lied in his claim that National Assembly members were given N100 million as palliatives. For the avoidance of doubt, at no time did members of the House of Representatives receive any money from the executive arm as palliatives. We, therefore, consider this statement as malicious, irresponsible and in bad faith,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that the National Assembly got N70 billion in the supplementary budget to “improve the working conditions of its new members.”
This newspaper did not report how the money was spent by the legislature.
In its usual manner, the National Assembly did not also provide the breakdown of the money and what they intended to use the money for.
Mr Rotimi did not provide the breakdown of the money nor address the issues raised by the NLC, instead, he demanded a public apology from the NLC.
“Accordingly, the House of Representatives demands an immediate retraction of this lie and a public apology from the Nigeria Labour Congress. The NLC as a critical stakeholder in the development of Nigeria has a voice and it risks delegitimising that voice if it is found to include fables in its legitimate agitations,” he said.
He noted that the National Assembly has approved the request by the executive for funds to support vulnerable groups.
“We wish to remind the NLC and indeed all Nigerians that in less than 100 days in the tenure of the 10th Assembly, we have demonstrated our commitment to the welfare of Nigerian workers and all Nigerians.
“In addition to other measures, the House of Representatives speedily carried out requisite legislative action on the Executive Arm of government’s request for approval of funds for palliatives for Nigerians.
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“We have also consistently advocated for the Executive to expedite these palliative measures to reach vulnerable Nigerians effectively and efficiently, as well as added our voices to the call for an immediate review of the minimum wage,” he said.
The NLC last week embarked on a two-day warning strike to protest the biting effect of the fuel subsidy removal.
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