There is an uneasy calm in the Senate wing of the National Assembly as most legislators are gearing up for an epic showdown against its leadership under Bukola Saraki.He, however, dispelled claims that the shift in the resumption date was to buy time and appease aggrieved senators.
Members of the upper chambers have declared war on the leadership as a result of the continuous delay in the payment of allowances by the National Assembly bureaucracy, The Sun exclusively reports.
It was learnt that the last minute postponement of the resumption announced by the Clerk to the National Assembly, Sani Omolori, was to give the leadership of the Senate time to calm frayed nerves of members who besieged the office of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and that of his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu.
Senators, it was authoritatively gathered, were unhappy with the senate president and other principal officers over the repeated delay in the payment of their allowances.
Some senators told Daily Sun that they were paid their “paltry” August salaries before the Sallah break, adding that the “juicy” allowances which run into millions of naira were frequently delayed.
For instance, the lawmakers said they were yet to receive their August allowances, despite the fact that the money had been lodged into a new generation bank as at August 30.
Three lawmakers who spoke with a correspondent in separate interviews, but did not want their names mentioned, said they were already gearing up to confront the Senate leadership next Tuesday at plenary, before the one week postponement was suddenly announced on Wednesday.
One of the lawmakers who hails from one of the states in the South South, claimed that the delay in the payment of their monthly allowances has become a reccurring practice and threatened that lawmakers had already resolved to challenge Saraki.
He insinuated that the resumption date was postponed for fears that angry lawmakers could spring up surprises at plenary.
The senator said though he did not acquire a loan from a commercial bank to fund his election in 2015, his colleagues who were yet to pay off their debts were on the verge of losing their property, which they used as collateral.
Another lawmaker said over 70 per cent of senators did not travel to their respective constituencies during the long break because of the delay in the payment of their salaries and allowances.
He said some of the lawmakers besieged offices of principal officers during the week to demand for explanations on why their outstanding allowances were yet to be paid.
Senate spokesman, Abdullahi Sabi could not be reached for comments. One of his aides, who responded, said his principal was currently indisposed.
But when contacted, media adviser to the Senate President, Yusuf Olaniyonu, said the alleged delay was not the fault of his principal, adding that the Ministry of Finance was in charge of releases.