• Monday, June 24, 2024
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Kogi lawmakers boycott plenary over non-payment of salaries, allowances

Kogi State House of Assembly

Several Kogi State House of Assembly lawmakers have shunned plenary in recent times over the delay in payment of their salaries and allowances, finding by BusinessDay has revealed.

The lawmakers have expressed disapproval over the poor welfare packages and the refusal of the state government to pay them their entitlements and other benefits as members of the House.

A member from Kogi West, who spoke to our correspondent, on the condition of anonymity, said apart from their benefits not being given to them, the House has been tele-guided and has become a rubber stamp of the executive.

“What are we coming there for? No allowances, our salaries are not up to requirements, we can’t speak our mind, and we are being tele-guided like nursery students,” the lawmaker said.

On Tuesday, only 10 members out of 25 were present for legislative debates, and the trend has been a recurrent decimal where the chamber doesn’t form a quorum for the legislative activities to proceed.

Initially, the lack of quorum was thought to be due to the touted 2023 Presidential campaign of the state governor, which the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mathew Kolawole was spearheading as he has been visiting states with some members trying to market Yahaya Bello presidency to his counterparts.

The development has paralysed legislative duties in the House for some time now.

Also, a female administrative staff of the House who pleaded anonymity disclosed that the legislature in Kogi State has gone asleep for the meantime, adding that members have nothing to boast in terms of welfare packages.

She further pointed out that the lawmakers have deserted their offices in the House, while preferring to stay in Abuja, due to pressure from their constituents.

According to her, “For the first time in the history of Kogi Assembly, the cost of official vehicles they are using are being deducted from their salaries and their allowances are not paid.

“Some of them who are aggrieved may boycott plenary in protest and give untenable excuses since they can’t risk speaking out on their plight.”

Meanwhile, the Speaker, Kolawole, has decried the attitude of some lawmakers who attend executive sessions without attending plenary sittings.

He made the observation at Tuesday’s plenary sitting, saying any lawmaker who is fond of doing so would be termed to be absent.

The Speaker’s motion was seconded by the majority leader, representing Ajaokuta State Constituency, Bello Hassan Balogun, as he cited relevant sections of the House rules and noted that motions moved was to put to effect relevant sections of the house rules.

Before Tuesday’s sitting, some members participated in an executive meeting which was held in the Speaker’s office, but were absent from the plenary out of anger.

Meanwhile, a bill for a law to repeal and re-enact the Kogi State Hotel and Edict, 1995, establishing the Kogi State Hotels and Tourism Board and a bill for a law to establish Kogi State Erosion and Watershed Management Agency passed second reading in the House amid the lack of quorum.

Recalled that the Assembly members have spent two years and two months out of a four-year mandate, having been sworn into office on May 29, 2019.