By Orkula Shaagee, Abuja
The management of the National Assembly has concluded plans to install Coronavirus testing equipment at the assembly complex ahead of resumption of the lawmakers.
The Director of Public Affairs of the National Assembly Dr. Yahaya Danzaria told reporters Saturday, that the upper and lower legislative Chambers were shut down on March 24, 2020 as precautionary measures against the spread of the virus.
Danzaria said the entire complex has already been fumigated and decontaminated against the virus in order to protect anyone that may have access to the complex and its offices.
“As part of the NASS management efforts to ensure that all staff of the Assembly work in a safe and secure environment, the entire complex has already been fumigated and decontaminated against the coronavirus or any other virus that may pose any danger to staff, parliamentarians and visitors to the complex, he disclosed.”
Speaking on the welfare of staff in light of pressure on finances of government institutions, Danzaria explained that the management had met with expectations in payment of salaries and allowances of workers so far.
According to him, the Senate President, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and the Clerk to the National Assembly, Sani Ataba Omolori committed to the issue of welfare as a priority for stability of the Assembly, adding that payments were made despite the pandemic challenge.
“The leadership of the National Assembly, despite the shutdown of both the Assembly Complex and the FCT has been relentless in its various interventions in order to ensure the welfare of not just the staff of the National Assembly, but Nigerians in general.
“The President of the Senate and the Speaker of House of Representatives have held several joint and separate meetings with various stakeholders in the federal government- led fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Some of the critical areas the leadership has intervened include the persecution of Nigerians in China, improving of electricity supply to Nigerians while the lockdown lasts
“The expansion to accommodate more vulnerable Nigerians in the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) component of the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme (SIP) as well as giving legal framework to various emergency intervention programmes of the federal government.
“The management of the Assembly had continued to prioritise the welfare of the staff as part of the reform efforts to increase productivity of Assembly.
“Staff welfare is top priority for the management. In fact, on April salary, our staff started receiving their salaries since Thursday this week.
“We made all the necessary arrangement with Sun Trust Bank to ensure that our staff were paid their salaries seamlessly even while they are at home,” the director said.
Danzaria insisted that the National Assembly management has continued to ensure the payment of the salaries of its staff between 24th and 25th of every month, assuring that the Clerk to the National Assembly was determined to ensure that the progress made so far was sustained and continuously improved.