National Assembly workers under the agies of Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASSAN) had on Monday, December 17, 2018, barricaded the gate to the complex in protest over unpaid salaries and allowances.
This comes barely two weeks after a massive protest by the aggrieved workers prevented legislative activities at both chambers of the National Assembly.
The workers had suspended the strike pending the outcome of meetings between PASSAN executives and the leadership of the National Assembly.
Failure by the National Assembly management to meet their demands, the workers commenced a four-day warning strike on Monday, December 17, 2018 -- days to President Buhari's visit to the parliament.
A Senior Legislative Aide tells Pulse that the protest is a move by the executive arm of government to delay the presentation of the 2019 budget.
"There is more to this strike and protests by PASSAN", the aide said under the condition of anonymity. "The President is looking for an excuse not to come to the National Assembly because the 2019 budget is not ready. The executive wants to use this strike by PASSAN as an excuse to postpone its presentation till next year.
"These workers that claim that they have not been paid their allowance for years, why have they been quiet all this while until two weeks to Buhari's visit? The budget is not ready. The President may use this strike as an excuse to postpone his visit," the aide claimed.
Although Senator Ita Enang, President Buhari's aide on National Assembly matters, was not available to react to the allegation, another staff who made it into the National Assembly on Tuesday, December 18, 2018, despite Police blockade described the claim as unfounded.
"The claim is untrue and unfounded. We have given the Clerk to the National Assembly enough time to address our demands but it all fell on deaf ears. We have families, people depend on us. A worker is worthy of his wages. President Buhari won't write to the National Assembly that he is coming if he is not ready," the source said.
Similarly, PASSAN chairman, Bature Mohammed, said the strike has nothing to do with President Buhari's visit to the parliament.
"If we can allow cleaners and bankers to go in and discharge their duties, how can we stop Mr President from presenting his budget?
"If Mr President comes now, we'll guide him to make sure that he presents the budget and come out freely. He is free to come," Mohammed announced.
The leadership of the National Assembly had asked the Police to protect lawmakers from acts capable of preventing them from carryout their legislative duties. According to Mohammed, this would only aggravate the situation.
"The leadership of the National Assembly is making the issue even worse by asking the security men to secure the National Assembly against its staff. This is a very wrong signal and we condemn it.
"Just some hours ago, they selected some of our staff against their wish to go and work. Some are there now working against their wish," he stated.
President Buhari is expected to adddress a joint sitting of the National Assembly by 11am, Wednesday morning, after laying of the 2019 budget.