NIGERIA: Drama as Aides, Drivers Protest Non-payment of Allowance

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There was a mild drama at the ongoing National Conference Wednesday when aides of the delegates protested against the non-payment of their allowances.
They also demanded that the conference secretariat should include them in the lunch and transport arrangements which their principals enjoy.
In a letter dated April 28 and addressed to the conference Chairman, Idris Legbo Kutigi, the aides, under the aegis of Forum of Aides and Drivers of National Conference 2014 Delegates, said they had evidence that payments were made to support personnel of similar appointees in the past, including the National Political Bureau of March 1987 and the National Political Reform Conference of 2005, and therefore, asked to be paid.
The two-page letter, a copy of which was obtained by journalists was signed by six of the aides and drivers who did not write their names, but merely appended their signatures.
Copies of the letter were sent to President Goodluck Jonathan and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim.
It was also learnt that each of the 492 delegates gets about N2.9 million monthly.
The letter read: “We are also aware that some delegates are against the payment of allowances to us in this regard. We must therefore point out that aides and drivers come from distant places  from all over the country. Usually, our salaries are meagre and barely sufficient to support our families.
“We have also sampled opinions and discovered that some aides and drivers sleep in the vehicles at the car parks of delegates’ hotels at the detriment of their health, safety and security while their principals sleep in the comfort of their hotel rooms. Many of our members get little or no stipends in this regard.
“We state clearly here that many of our members depend on their colleagues to survive in the course of the conference. Our welfare is poor and there is no provision for food, transport and boarding. Some of us are sometimes privileged to eat the crumbs that fall off the tables of the delegates at the Justice Aloma Muktar Banquet Hall of the conference venue at the mercy of the Banquet Hall personnel.
“This is not desirable considering the fact that we are all human beings and fellow citizens of this great country working together to chart a course for the united corporate existence of our great country.
We therefore request immediate government intervention to forestall the possibility of the hungry man becoming angry.”
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