Staff at the National Assembly are dealing with difficult times in the midst of legislators’ lavish lifestyles.
The salaries of members of the National Assembly have been a source of contention for years, with claims that they are among the highest in the world. IKEJA ONLINE examines the working environment for National Assembly staff in this report.
The reality has been bleak for government servants working in the National Assembly. The legislative aides had to shut down the facility in February with protests over 22 months of unpaid allowances from management.
The threat of a strike by workers under the auspices of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), National Assembly chapter, compelled legislators to enact the national minimum wage for workers.
The sight of the shuttle vehicles is the first indication of the gloomy reality. The buses, which are in poor condition, transport people from the Eagle Square intersection to the National Assembly’s second gate.
These buses stand in stark contrast to the extravagant vehicles that legislators have acquired for themselves. The parliamentarians are expected to receive 400 unique Toyota Camry 2020 models and 14 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado sports utility vehicles in 2020.
“They drive luxury cars, but we, the workers, are supposed to use these as shuttles. They even raised the price from N30 to N50,” a National Assembly employee stated.
We noticed that the shuttles only take passengers halfway down the road and that they must go through further security checks at the entrance.
“Previously, PASAN used to run these coaster buses for personnel. Passengers are picked up at the intersection and transported to the White House. The cars have stopped working due to a lack of maintenance,” another employee bemoaned.
The NASS shuttle can only transport employees to the second gate, from where they must walk the rest of the way to their offices.
Maitama legislators, Mararaba workers, and Suleja
The findings also found that most workers in the National Assembly cannot afford the exorbitant cost of rent in Abuja, thus they live outside the Federal Capital Territory, some in Suleja in Niger State and Mararaba in Nassarawa State.
Traffic congestion is another key cause of concern for most workers in the Mararaba axis.
Senators who receive a housing allowance of N4.02 million per year have a choice of prime sites. Their choices include Maitama, Guzape, Asokoro, and Katampe. Their colleagues in the lower chamber are compensated with N3.9 million per year for housing. The Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission provided these numbers.
As Senators and Representatives, they also receive 6.0 million and 5.9 million dollars for furniture every four years. Aside from these benefits, legislators also get the contentious cost of running an office, which is approximately N13.5 million per month for Senators and N11.5 million per month for Representatives.
Given the city’s rents, acquiring housing within the city on a public servant’s wage is nearly difficult for some of these professionals. To lessen the impact of travel, the National Assembly’s management provided PASAN with vehicles to transport workers to several areas in Nasarawa State, including Mararaba, Masaka, and Keffi. Karu, Lugbe, Karishi, and Suleja are among the others.
Most workers in the Mararaba axis must delay going home until late in the evening to escape traffic congestion, and must also leave as early as 5: 30 a.m. to avoid morning traffic.
According to Rahmat Ibraheem, a physiotherapist, traffic has an impact on worker productivity.
“Staying in traffic for an extended period of time causes the creation of the stress hormone, which might make you feel tense when you get to work or at night at home. Another concern is the seating posture in some of our public transportation vehicles, which is a result of the large number of passengers they transport at any given time. She explained, “The inference is that this leads to muscle loss and stiffness.”
She went on to say that the “body must be in synergy to be effective, and when stress hormones are created, the body must be in synergy.”
Muscle health may be a luxury for most workers, especially if food prices continue to rise.
While workers face daily obstacles such as transportation and other issues, parliamentarians drive about in expensive cars, according to IKEJA ONLINE.