Ahead of Wednesday’s presentation of the 2019 budget by President Muhammadu Buhari to the joint session of the national assembly, the police have taken over the assembly complex.
The action followed the shutting down of the national assembly by national assembly staff under the umbrella of Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN).
The leadership of the national assembly had earlier directed the police and the Directorate of State security (DSS) to secure the precincts of the assembly complex to enable members and staff access the parliament building and perform their legitimate duties without any hindrance.
“The leadership of the national assembly called the meeting because they know that almost all the issues raised by the striking workers were being addressed by the management. And after listening to the clerk of the national assembly, it was unanimously agreed that the management had made sufficient plans and efforts to address all the grievances of the workers and ensure their happiness.
“We were sure that the issues raised by the workers have been well attended to and that it is necessary for the business of the National Assembly to continue without any disturbance. Both chambers must hold their normal plenary tomorrow morning to prepare the ground for the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 to present the budget proposal to the joint sitting of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“We have therefore mandated the security agencies to perform their duty of maintaining law and order in the National Assembly Complex and its surrounding. They must enforce the laws which allow the striking workers to down tools if they choose to and also the ones which restrain them from disturbing those who choose to work or stop parliamentarians from entering the chambers or their offices to do the work for which they were elected.
“Senators and members of the House of Representatives, their aides, other workers and people who have legitimate business within the National Assembly Complex are therefore advised to come in as they will be free to operate without any hindrance and molestation. “If the President Buhari is unable to present the budget proposal on Wednesday as scheduled Nigerians should hold the security agencies responsible for failing in their the performance of their duties,” the national assembly said in a statement on Tuesday.
The police were said to have shut all entrances to the premises and denied workers access to it.
Later, they searched journalists, construction workers, vendors and a few who they felt should be allowed in.
It was also gathered that water and electricity supplies which PASAN disconnected to the assembly complex had been restored.
PASAN issued a four-day warning strike which began on Monday (yesterday).
The staff are protesting against non-payment of backlog of allowances and non-implementation of the consolidated salary structure.
On Monday, the group disconnected water and electricity supplies to the assembly complex and occupied every entrance to the parliament building.