Speaker Abbas promises better welfare for NASS members’ aides

The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, Ph.D, on Tuesday, said the 10th House under his leadership would ensure that aides to lawmakers get their entitlements as and when due.

Speaker Abbas particularly noted various welfare packages for the members of the National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum (NASSLAF) when the newly elected Executive of the forum visited him at his office.

The Speaker congratulated NASSLAF members on their successful election of a new Executive council, while also commending the newly elected chairman for his smooth assumption of his and the experience he has displayed within a short time.

Speaker Abbas acknowledged the critical role of the legislative staff in the performance of lawmakers. He recalled how he had urged members of the House not to pick aides out of sentiment, but prioritise competence in their recruitment.

He appealed to NASSLAF to maintain a good relationship with the management (the bureaucracy) and the leadership of the Senate and the House, noting that the Green Chamber would support the leadership of the legislative aides.

Responding to the demand by NASSLAF for the reinstatement of Duty Tour Allowance, Speaker Abbas said, “We at the level of leadership will take it up,” by engaging the management of the National Assembly on the matter and others raised by the association.

While stating that the House would liaise with the bureaucracy on the feasibility of procuring laptops for all legislative aides, the Speaker also noted that the demand for international training would not be realistic due to economic challenges.

He recalled how President Bola Ahmed Tinubu “himself decided to scale down his entourage,” while also ordering heads of ministries, departments, and agencies to follow suit. He also noted that the House was adopting austerity measures to cut costs due to the current economic realities.

The Chairman of NASSLAF, Barrister Emeka Nwala, had earlier told the Speaker that the forum had 43 issues to present but would only table some of them before him.

Nwala told the Speaker how several welfare packages earlier enjoyed by legislative aides had been suspended. He also said NASSLAF members found it difficult to commute between their homes and the workplace due to higher transport expenses.

The NASSLAF chairman prayed the House to facilitate legislative aides, who are public servants, becoming beneficiaries of the N35,000 government allowance like civil servants.

Nwala also appealed to the Speaker to reach out to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, to facilitate housing opportunities for NASSLAF members.